Rise and shine

The Tribune

The Tribune

Author 2019-11-10 09:48:00

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Nagpur, November 9

India will be eyeing their first T20 International series win at home this season when they take on Bangladesh in the decisive third game here tomorrow, with the hope that their fringe players contribute significantly to a victory.

In the absence of some senior players, including skipper Virat Kohli, India’s primary objective in this series was to identify the core of players for the T20 World Cup next year. Not much was achieved on that front in the first two games, barring the successful comeback of leggie Yuzvendra Chahal, who again proved his wicket-taking ability in the middle overs.

After Chahal and Co. restricted Bangladesh to 153 for six in Rajkot, skipper Rohit Sharma blew the opposition away with a sublime 85 to level the series 1-1.

The interns

Among the youngsters being tried in this series, Washington Sundar, who has been preferred to Kuldeep Yadav, has kept things tight but has not been as threatening as Chahal. Pacer Khaleel Ahmed leaked runs in both the games, increasing the possibility of Shardul Thakur partnering Deepak Chahar on Sunday. Krunal Pandya, who has been a regular in the Indian T20 squad for a while, is yet to pick up a wicket, and he has not had much to do with the bat.

Captain Sharma fielded the same XI in Delhi and Rajkot, leaving the likes of Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson and Rahul Chahar to warm the bench. If not in Nagpur, they could get an opportunity in the home series against West Indies next month.

Even when the senior players return, India will have plenty to ponder over their team composition, especially in the batting department where they lack firepower.

Shreyas Iyer has looked impressive in the limited time he has spent in the middle while KL Rahul is yet to make an impact, as is rookie all-rounder Shivam Dube.

Under pressure

However, it is the not the fringe players who are facing the maximum pressure, it is the established names such as Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant.

Dhawan has struggled to accelerate while questions are also being raised about Pant’s work behind the stumps following a botched-up stumping in Rajkot, apart from the constant talk over his shot-selection. The third T20I gives them an ideal platform to silence their critics.

This being the shortest and most unpredictable format of the sport, Bangladesh can spring another surprise on India, like they did in the first match in Delhi despite the absence of two key players — Tamim Iqbal and the suspended Shakib Al Hasan.

They made a decent start to their innings in the second game in Rajkot before losing their way to end up with a below-par 153. Most of their batsmen have looked in good touch and there is little doubt that they will be itching to make an impact in the decider.

The standout performer for them has been 20-year-old leg-spinner Aminul Islam, who has taken four wickets so far without giving away too many runs. — PTI

Sharma nears 400 6s

Rohit Sharma is only two sixes away from joining the 400-sixes club. Sharma has 398 international sixers to his credit —232 in ODIs, 51 in Tests and 115 in T20Is. Only two players have hit over 400 sixers — West Indian Chris Gayle (534) and Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi (476).

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