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11-May-2010 16:48:00 GMT
India v Sri Lanka at Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet

India Opt to Bat in Do-or-die Game Against Sri Lanka

St. Lucia: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat against Sri Lanka in their last Super Eights match at the Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia on Tuesday.

India have dropped Murali Vijay, Zaheer Khan and Ravindra Jadeja and brought in Dinesh Karthik, R Vinay Kumar and Piyush Chawla.

After slumping to the 49-run loss against Australia in their first Group F Super Eight match, India's semifinal hopes received a severe battering on Sunday when Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men fell short by 14 runs against the West Indies.

Despite the two defeats, India are mathematically still in the fray for a semifinal place. But for that to happen, Dhoni's men will first have to beat Sri Lanka and then hope Australia drub the West Indies by a big margin, which will see three teams locked with same points in Group F.

In such a scenario, the net run-rate (NRR) will be brought into action to pick which one of these three teams -- India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, qualify for the semi-finals.

To make matter worse for India, they would have to win by a handsome margin against the islanders to bolster their net run-rate, which is a dismal -1.578.

Despite losing to Australia by 81 runs on Sunday, Sri Lanka have a NRR of -0.600 while the West Indies' NRR is -1.057.

India could have avoided this mathematical dilemma had their batsmen executed better skills or been prudent while handling short balls.

Cramped for time and space, they have injudiciously played the pull shot, though not being physically and technically well equipped to challenge such hostile deliveries.

As the frazzled Indian stars may have realised by now, merely throwing the bat around at short balls, without getting inside the line or under the ball, doesn't fetch runs.

However, trouncing Sri Lanka is not going to be a lark in the park, as Kumar Sangakarra's men would come all guns blazing to qualify for the semis, especially after slumping to the morale-shattering defeat against Australia last night.

The Lankans would be eyeing nothing less than a victory to avoid any mathematical equation and if they do so, the Islanders, in all probability, will face Engalnd in the first semifinal on May 13.

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