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Preview: In-form India face selection woes for semi clash against South Africa

India-shikharThey are on a high after four victories on the trot but team combination and injury to Yuvraj Singh will be a worry for India as they go into the second semifinal of the ICC World Twenty20 against a determined South Africa on Friday.

While the Indian team management will be hoping that Yuvraj recovers fully from his ankle injury which he sustained during a football session, selecting the final XI could be a tricky proposition for them.

The dilemma facing the Indians is whether to retain Ajinkya Rahane in place of out of form Shikhar Dhawan and Mohit Sharma, who had replaced Mohammed Shami in the last match against Australia.

While Dhawan is known to be destructive batsman, his form has been a big concern which may prompt the team management to retain Rahane. However, if Yuvraj does not recover fully, both Rahane and Dhawan are likely to be in the playing eleven in such a scenario.

While skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will wish that senior pro Yuvraj remains fighting fit for the crucial match, the South Africans will be wary of the quality spin attack that they will have to encounter in order to book a berth for the final.

It will be a keenly-fought contest when Virat Kohli’s swagger will meet Imran Tahir’s guile and Rohit Sharma will try to douse the ‘fire’ set by Dale Steyn.

If one goes by form in the tournament, India can be termed favourites on paper but a game of Twenty20 can change in a matter of three overs as Pakistan captain Mohammed Hafeez realised it the hard way.

While India have had an all-win record coming into the last-four clash, the South African team won three out of their four games, albeit in a contrasting manner.

India have so far convincingly crushed some of the teams such as Australia, Pakistan and Bangladesh while registering a comfortable win against defending champions West Indies.

South Africa, on the other hand, have recorded some close victories against New Zealand, The Netherlands and England in their last three games.

India would like to move on from their forgettable first two-and-a-half months of 2014 and their opponents would like to shed off their ‘chokers’ tag in this current ICC event.

It will be a match where Indian spinners will like to re-affirm their dominance on the slow turner at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium while the AB de Villiers and the Quinton de Kocks would hope to turn the tables on the Indians.

Yuvraj Singh’s left ankle injury due to Indian team’s adventurous barefoot football will certainly keep Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher, a tad worried.

After a few indifferent matches, Yuvraj showed how destructive he can be in the shortest format with his 43-ball-60 against Australia in the last group league encounter.

His experience and ability to perform in big-match situation is invaluable to team’s cause and even an 80-per cent fit Yuvraj will be an asset for Team India in a vital game.

In case Yuvraj is unable to get fit in time, Rahane will get a chance to cement his place in the T20 side. He scored only 19 during his brief stay at the crease in the last match against Australia but he had looked much more compact than Dhawan.

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