banner watch listen bbc sport watch listen
Skip to main content Text Only version of this page
BBC
Home
TV
Radio
Talk
Where I Live
A-Z Index
| Help
---------------
---------------
---------------
Languages
Hindi
Urdu
 
CHOOSE A SPORT
BBC News
BBC Weather
BBC Sport Academy
Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 March, 2003, 12:34 GMT
India's burden of expectation

By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

On the face of it, India's semi-final against Kenya should be a complete mismatch.

But one only has to be in India's hotel in Durban to appreciate the enormous pressure their fans are piling onto the players.

Indian supporters are turning up in their droves, all of them expecting a walkover at nearby Kingsmead - and this anticipation will be running at fever pitch in India.

Sachin Tendulkar
The not-so-small matter of Kenya stand between India and the final

This support is welcome, of course, but it will be playing very heavily on the cricketers' minds.

If it ever stops raining here - and the forecast for Thursday is not good - the heavy atmosphere should suit the seam bowlers of both sides.

And, if anything, the fact this is a day/night match gives Kenya a little more cause for optimism.

We should not forget that Mr Dalmiya, the controversial president of the Indian Cricket Board, formally asked the World Cup technical committee to switch the fixture to an all-day affair.

This was refused, not unreasonably, because the match had been scheduled to be a day/night game for months, and TV schedules are now in place.

But it shows the unease India feel about facing Kenya - or anyone else for that matter - under lights.

Tendulkar threat

Sachin Tendulkar is capable of pushing this game beyond the Kenyans single-handed.

He is in wonderful form - easily the top scorer in the competition - and clearly relishing his return to the top of the order.

Sourav Ganguly has also had an good World Cup, while the wily Rahul Dravid has shown more than once how to pace a run-chase.

And with Virender Sehwag overdue a large score, Kenya's bowlers will face the test of their lives.

But they have displayed excellent discipline throughout the campaign and, boycotts apart, their steady and accurate bowling is responsible for Kenya being the first non-Test playing nation to get this far.

Penetrating they are not, but that does not really matter in this shortened form of the game.

The match promises to be a test of nerve, and so long as India are not cowed by the intense expectation of their sometimes fickle fans, it is difficult to imagine them being involved in one of sport's greatest upsets.


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

Daily e-mail | Sport on mobiles/PDAs


Back to top

World Cup | Fixtures & Results | Scorecards | Tables & Averages | Team Pages | History
Have Your Say | Photo Galleries | Test Match Special
Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales
BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us