Fully aware of the nature of a Twenty20 game, Sachin Tendulkar did not pick a winner for Thursday night’s ICC World T20 semifinal between India and the West Indies.
Speaking to NDTV, Tendulkar said “it will be an open game” and the West Indies can’t be written off.
India have a 2-2 win-loss record against West Indies in T20 internationals but past records will have no impact in Thursday’s mouth-watering semifinal match.
“Go out and enjoy cricket above all. The results will follow and stay focused on the process and we are all behind you,” Tendulkar advised the Indian team.
India, the world’s top-ranked side in the shortest format, arrived at the sixth edition of the ICC World T20 with 10 wins from 11 matches in 2016 and were considered overwhelming favourites by fans, opposing captains and bookmakers alike.
The second World T20 semi-final is likely to hinge on who emerges on top in the battle between the big-hitting West Indian batsmen and India’s wily spinners.
“My heart has always said India and nothing else. But today’s match is an open game and it will be a closely fought contest because the West Indians have been playing good cricket and they have some unbelievable players in their team,” said Tendulkar.
Tendulkar, who retired from cricket in Mumbai on November 16, 2013 after a series with the West Indies, is backing India to look the Caribbeans in the eye.
“We have played brilliantly… especially the last match (versus Australia in Mohali) and the Kolkata one (versus Pakistan) were high-pressure games and we were able to soak in that pressure and deliver the knockout punch. I hope that continues,” said Tendulkar.
A win on Thursday will take India to a third final in the World Twenty20 under Dhoni after they went down to Sri Lanka in the last edition in Bangladesh. England beat New Zealand in Delhi on Wednesday to book a place in the final in Kolkata on April 3.