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Untested middle order - a cause of concern against Lankans
The Indian team has had a splendid run up to the semi-finals of the 2013 Champions trophy with the top order comprising Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma looking in great touch. On the flip side, however, the middle order has remained untested in the competition so far, giving rise to fears: what if the top order fails to perform against Sri Lanka in the semis?

India won their last two matches against West Indies and Pakistan without having to break their sweat with the top order showing their class while dealing with the respective targets of 233 runs and 165 runs. It must be for the same reason that the Indian team practised real hard for two full days, which also witnessed Raina getting longer hits in the net. Raina has not had a long stay at the crease, but if the need arises, he must be able to deliver. The same applies to Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja.

The Indian team needs to be ready, if they suffer any kind of early setbacks, which has not happened in the tournament so far with the lowest opening stand between Dhawan and Sharma being 58 runs against Pakistan in the last match. The Indian team has enjoyed good batting partnerships, but with the bowling attack of Sri Lanka, which comprises Lasith Malinga, as the premier fast bowler along with Kulasakera, who is one of the consistent Sri Lankan seamers, things are not going to be that easy.

The Indian batsmen cannot take things lightly as well for Sri Lanka also boasts of one of the best left arm slow bowlers, like Herath, who will make it tough during the middle overs to score runs at a brisk rate.

The only instance when the Indian middle and the lower order got a chance to bat was in the first match of the competition against South Africa, where Karthik scored 14, Dhoni, 27 runs, Raina, 9, Ashwin, 10 and it was only Jadeja who got a respectable score of 47 not out. Raina, Dhoni and Karthik need to primarily take the Indian batsmen home if they are chasing or setting up a good score in case the top order fails.

Also, it is not only that the Indian team needs batsmen only to perform to help them reach the finals, but also their bowlers, who need to come up with their best game. If the Indian team fails to come up with a good score if they bat first, then it is the bowlers who need to be at their best. On the contrary, if Sri Lanka bats first and the Indian bowlers clean them up cheaply; it is going to be an easy task for the batsmen to score those runs as well.

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