India seek to raise intensity

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CHENNAI, February 15- India must pick up their intensity with barely three days to go before the World Cup gets under way, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Tuesday.

India, strong favourites to win the showpiece tournament, stuttered in their warm-up game against defending champions Australia in Bangalore on Sunday before pulling off an unlikely 38-run win.

The Indians take on New Zealand in their second and final practice match on Wednesday in Chennai ahead of their tournament opener against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Saturday.

"Of course we did not have a very good game against Australia," Dhoni said.

"We needed a partnership but that did not happen and we could not score big.

"The lower-order helped and added some 45-odd runs. But at 214 we did not have a par score on the board. We want to score more runs in the warm-up and try various bowling options.

"We need to pick up intensity as we progress into the World Cup."

Dhoni said the performance of spinners in the game against Australia had opened up his options.

Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, a surprise inclusion in India’s squad, picked up 4-31 in nine overs and off-break bowler Harbhajan Singh took 3-15 from five.

"We have a very good side," said Dhoni. "That is what I have said always. I don’t believe in comparisons. We have a mix of players who are very good.

"But obviously what we have on paper is not important, it is what we do on the field which matters. We need to see what the conditions are and pick our best eleven accordingly."

The Indian skipper, leading the side for the first time in a World Cup, said his team will treat New Zealand with respect despite their recent poor form in one-dayers in the sub-continent.

"They are a very contributive side. They don’t depend on any one particular player. They have some very talented players. When we talk about New Zealand we talk about their contributive effort rather than singling out players."

India, winners in 1983, are placed in Group B with England, South Africa, Bangladesh, the Netherlands, the West Indies and Ireland.

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