Wed, Mar 23, 2016 - Page 20 News List

India captain calls for run rate improvement

AFP, BANGALORE, India

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni urged his big hitters to improve their run rates dramatically against Bangladesh today or face the prospect of a humiliating early exit from the ICC World Twenty20 on home soil.

The hosts are precariously placed in fourth place of Group Two after suffering one defeat and securing one win. They desperately need a big victory to bolster their bid for a semi-finals berth.

India’s six-wicket victory over archrivals Pakistan on Saturday will have boosted their confidence after a 47-run defeat to New Zealand in their opening group match.

However, Dhoni said India, who were firm favorites at the start of the tournament to lift a second World T20 title, needed to improve to qualify from a tough group, which also includes Australia.

“I still feel there is still scope for improvement and in the coming two games that will be our priority,” the captain said.

New Zealand top the group on four points after two wins, while Pakistan, Australia and India all have two points.

However, India’s run rate, which could determine who qualifies, is considerably worse than their rivals.

“In the first game our run rate went down. So it’s not only about winning, but you have to take care of the run rate at some point,” Dhoni said.

The hosts are seeking to become the first team to win the World T20 title twice, after clinching the crown in 2007, and also the first to win at home.

Sitting at the bottom of Group 2 after also losing to Pakistan, Bangladesh have almost no chance of advancing to the semi-finals, but skipper Mashrafe Mortaza vowed to battle on.

The Tigers were left reeling after an International Cricket Council decision over the weekend to suspend top bowlers Arafat Sunny and Taskin Ahmed for illegal actions, forcing them to rush in replacements from Bangladesh.

There were also question marks over star batsman Tamim Iqbal, who reported feeling unwell and did not play against Australia.

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