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India v New Zealand, Group E, Johannesburg
Ravi Shastri: Piyush Chawla must play
September 16, 2007
Ravi Shastri looks back on the first game of the Super Eights between India and New Zealand at the Wanderers
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Ravi Shastri: "Daniel Vettori was the difference between the two sides - not only did he not give too many runs but he picked up four wickets as well" © AFP

Akhila Ranganna: I have with me former India captain Ravi Shastri to look back at the first game of the Super Eights in the ICC World Twenty20 between India and New Zealand.

Ravi, this was a game in which both sides had their moments. The Indian bowlers started off well but the New Zealand batsmen counter-attacked; similarly, Virender Sehwag got India off to a blistering start but then the Indian middle order was pegged back by the New Zealand bowlers ...

Ravi Shastri: Yes, this game had everything that you would expect in Twenty20 - it had fireworks, it had some good fielding in the outfield and there was some high-class spin bowling particularly from Daniel Vettori. He was the difference between the two sides; not only did he not give too many runs but he picked up four wickets as well and that really was the turning point.

AR: The Indian bowlers didn't seem to have a plan B when they were being attacked by Craig McMillan and Jacob Oram ...

RS: That happens in a Twenty20 game. You have to think quickly; you have to have two or three plans up your sleeve and I thought the Indian bowlers lost it in the end. They conceded 78 runs in five overs and I think that cost India the game. At times you have got to be bull-headed and bowl a fullish length when you know the batsman is looking to slog you in the outfield. I thought Harbhajan Singh did that and he was the pick of the bowlers conceding just 24 runs [from his four overs].

I think India missed a trick here - they should have picked Piyush Chawla for this game. The spinners have been doing pretty well as Vettori has showed us and I thought that would have given Mahendra Singh Dhoni a few more options rather than falling back on Yuvraj Singh. I think Chawla would have been a better bet. Also, he should look at using Sehwag more.

AR: Do you think we saw glimpses of the old Sehwag in his belligerent knock?

RS: He is a dangerous player. For me he is always a certainty in the one-day side because he gets you off to a start. It's unfortunate that the others in the middle order didn't carry on and make use of that start. I think this innings would have done his confidence a world of good and I think he will have a big role to play in this tournament, even with the ball.

AR: You spoke of the performance of the spinners ... mixing up the pace, is that the way forward for the bowlers in this tournament?

RS: You have to vary your pace as a spinner and you have got to be able to bowl the full-length delivery. I thought where Harbhajan was good was that he was able to bowl the full-length delivery - he did that against Pakistan when Shahid Afridi was looking to cut loose and today Vettori really took the pace off the ball. He tossed it up and got the ball to loop and got it really slow on to the bat and that's how he got four wickets.

AR: Ravi, finally, what do you think the Indians need to do, going forward from here.

RS: This group is wide open - anyone can beat anyone. If you win one game, you have a good chance of getting to the semi-finals. New Zealand having won a game today doesn't mean that they will reach the semi-finals; they could lose to South Africa or England. India has to keep their chin up. They played well today but fell 10 runs short. I think they must think of getting another spinner in the side and try and change things a bit.

AR: Ravi, thank you for your views.

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