LONDON // Indian pace bowler Zaheer Khan rates Chris Gayle, the West Indian captain, the main threat when the two teams clash in the World Twenty20 Super Eights today. "It will be good if we can get early wickets against the West Indies," Zaheer said after roaring back from a shoulder injury to take four wickets against Ireland on Wednesday.
"Removing Gayle will be a great advantage for us. I am hopeful because we are clicking as a bowling unit and each bowler understands his role. "We are chipping in with wickets at the right time." On Wednesday, Zaheer claimed 4-19, including three wickets in seven balls, and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha took 2-18 as India restricted Ireland to 112-8 in an 18-over game and won by eight wickets. Rohit Sharma made 52 from 45 balls.
After the West Indies, India play England at the same venue on Sunday followed by South Africa at Trent Bridge on Tuesday. Zaheer discounted suggestions the defending champions faced tougher Super Eight matches compared to the other group which has Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New Zealand and Ireland. "There is no such thing as weak opposition in Twenty20 cricket," he said. "It is such an unpredictable game. Just look at how the Netherlands beat England.
"Any team on any day can be dangerous. Our focus now is only on the West Indies. We are not looking at England or South Africa." The Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara echoed his Indian counterpart MS Dhoni's view that there was scope for improvement after both sides gained momentum with last round victories. After their win over the West Indies on Wednesday, Sangakkara said: "I am happy we have hit the right groove and gained the momentum we needed going into the Super Eights.
"A lot of areas remain to be worked on. The next round will be tough and we must cover all grounds. We are getting there." "To win a world-class tournament like this, one needs to do well against all teams. There are no easy groups, no easy games. We can't afford to let our guard down at any stage." Sri Lanka play Pakistan today who are bolstered by the return of the all-rounder Abdul Razzaq replacing the injured Yasir Arafat.