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World Twenty20 Cup 2009

18 Jun,2009 4:30 PM GMT | T20I 1st Semi Final South Africa Vs Pakistan Trent Bridge, Nottingham

ResultPakistan won by 7 runs

By Richard Sydenham

NOTTINGHAM, England (Reuters) – India are well equipped to retain their World Twenty20 title if they can withstand the pressure of being defending champions, Anil Kumble, the country’s highest wicket-taker in test and one-day cricket, said on Monday.

“They can defend it but the pressure is on them this time as champions,” Kumble, who retired from international cricket in November, told Reuters.

“Last time, the expectation was not that high for India or even for the format. But they have since played two IPLs (Indian Premier Leagues) and expectations are high.”

India began their defence with a comfortable 25-run win over Bangladesh on Saturday at Trent Bridge and have a final group match against minnows Ireland on Wednesday. They are seeking a second successive title after beating Pakistan in the 2007 final.

“They are a fantastic side,” said Kumble, who is in England as a television pundit.

“They have got some great hitters who are very intimidating for opponents, have good variety in their bowling with off-spin, left-arm spin, left-arm swing from Zaheer (Khan) and the right-arm pace of Ishant (Sharma). So there is plenty of surprise and quality in the team.”

Kumble, 38, claimed 956 wickets in both test and limited-over formats during his 20-year career.

His only playing commitments now are with Bangalore in the IPL. He took five for five in one match in April and helped them to reach the final.

Kumble is contracted to play at least one more edition in 2010 and the Champions League in October.

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