India will be toughest in WorldT20: Watson

Dubai, Feb 10 (IANS) Australian all-rounder Shane Watson believes that hosts India will be the biggest threat to his team in the World T20 which is scheduled to start on March 9.

Watson, who has had extensive experience of playing in the sub-continent thanks to the Indian Premier League (IPL), believes that India have the firepower to go the distance on their home turf. Australia are scheduled to take on the hosts in their final group match in Mohali on March 27.

“I think India will be the toughest team because it’s in their home conditions,” Watson was quoted as saying by on Wednesday.

“They know their conditions better than anyone and have performed well in big events at home.”

Watson believes that the Indian team have quality players in every department. “India have a good all-round team; their batting has firepower all the way through, bowling-wise, their spinners are world class and they have some good quicks,” the 34-year-old said.

“Ashish Nehra is bowling really well and (Jasprit) Bumrah has been a great find for them. They have a really well balanced team so I think they will be a big challenge.”

India have dominated Australia in the shortest format recently, having won 3-0 Down Under in last month’s T20 series.

India have won the tournament once in 2007 and in 2014 they made it to the finals but lost to neighbours Sri Lanka by six wickets.

India women face Nepal test in SAG football 

Shillong, Feb 10 (IANS) On a high after thrashing Sri Lanka 5-0, the Indian women’s football team will aim to hold on to its current form when it faces Nepal in the ongoing South Asian Games (SAG) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Thursday.

India’s first victory in the competition came against the island nation after a goalless draw with the Maldives.

On the other hand, Nepal are yet to concede a goal in the ongoing championship and sit pretty atop grabbing maximum points out of two matches courtesy a 2-0 win over Maldives and a 3-0 win over Bangladesh.

However, it will also be a litmus test for the Nepalese attack force when they face a compact Indian defence line which has allowed only one shot at its goal in over 180 minutes.

“Nepal are one of the strongest teams in the tournament and we respect our opponents as they possess the necessary weapons to hurt us. We need to be focused and concentrate on the task at hand. An early goal will make things fluid for us. However, we are not expecting an easy clash against Nepal,” India head coach Sajid Dar said in a release.

“Nepal’s results in the (South Asian) Games speak for themselves and it will be our toughest match in the championship,” he added.

Skipper Bembem Devi said she was happy with the result against Lanka but pointed out that the team should not get carried away by the result, rather it should focus on winning the next matches.

“It was a deserving win but we should not get carried away with the result. There are still two matches to be played and we have to give our all in the remaining fixtures,” she said.

“There is always room for improvement in football and the win over Sri Lanka gives us a boost in our morale after the draw against Maldives. We hope to capitalize and build on the win,” the veteran forward added.

Defender Manisa Panna believes that the match against Nepal will be even and anybody can emerge winners.

“It does not matter what the statistics are. Football is seldom played on statistics. Tomorrow will be a new day and both the teams are capable enough to beat the other.

“All we have to do is give our cent percent on the pitch and hopefully grab a positive result. Nepal are a very tough side and their Strikers are swift. We have to keep a tab on their wingers,” Manisa said.

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