Rohit Sharma and Yuzvendra Chahal hold key in series decider
The subplots missing, the focus will entirely be on cricket in Sunday’s third and final T20I between India and Bangladesh, at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur.
While smog and poor air quality were the talking points before the first T20I in New Delhi, it was cyclone Maha which dominated discussions ahead of the second game. But this time clear skies are expected on the match day.
With the series balanced at 1-1, Sunday’s clash is a winner-takes-all affair. India are the favourites, but Bangladesh have earned the right to not be dismissed lightly.
Rohit Sharma had single-handedly taken the match away from the visitors in the second game with his superlative batting. But one isn’t sure how would the Virat Kohli-less Indian batting line-up stand up when opener Rohit is out early. They didn’t give too good an account of themselves in the Delhi match.
Spinners are set to be play a key role in Nagpur on Sunday. And so stand-in captain Rohit will depend a lot on an in-form Yuzvendra Chahal.
“This is a very, very new unit. But Chahal, for the last two years, has been extremely consistent with how he has performed in white-ball cricket. Even in the ODI format, he has done extremely well for us,” Rohit said at the pre-match media conference.
“He bowled well in IPL and then his performance got recognised and he was picked for the ODI format. Since then, he’s been one of the important members of the squad, and he’s proved that in this series, how important he can be in the middle overs.”
Rohit feels Chahal’s ability to outthink the batsman is what makes him different from others. The leggie took two crucial wickets in the same over in Rajkot, Mushfiqur Rahim and Soumya Sarkar, to put the brakes on Bangladesh’s scoring rate.
“He knows what he’s trying to do, and he exactly knows what the batsman is trying to do. He’s basically trying to stay ahead of the game. He
has understood that really well, and he’s got variation and skills too.”
Chahal’s spin partner Washington Sundar, who has been preferred to chinaman 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 Sunday.
On the batting front, Shreyas Iyer has looked impressive while KL Rahul and Shivam Dube will expect to make a mark. Rishabh Pant has been having a torrid time behind and in front of the stumps. He would also hope to do something meaningful.