India continued their excellent record in T20I deciders as they put Bangladesh to the sword in a see-saw series finale in Nagpur on Sunday.
The 30-run win handed India their first home T20 series win of the calendar year and it will come as a welcome boost to the team as they look to build for next year’s World Cup in Australia.
Both teams were missing key stars for the three-match series with Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja being the main absentees for India.
While they did face their share of hiccups along the way, Rohit Sharma’s men can largely be satisfied with their series displays. Here, we take a look at the main takeaways from the 2-1 series victory for the Men in Blue.
Chahar giving India the good headache
Even when India’s top bowlers are back, it will be difficult to keep Deepak Chahar out of the XI. He can now be relied on at every stage in a T20 game— Sambit Bal (@sambitbal) November 10, 2019
While young pacer Khaleel Ahmed failed to really seize his chance once again, the same cannot be said of Deepak Chahar who led an inexperienced bowling unit with some aplomb.
Question marks had remained over the seamer’s ability to perform with the old ball and he answered some of them with an impressive tour of the West Indies recently. Against Bangladesh, Chahar cleared those doubts for good with a stellar showing in all three matches, with his record-breaking one in the deciding T20 solidifying his credentials.
The 27-year-old claimed not only his best, but the best-ever T20I figures (6-7), while also becoming the first Indian bowler to register a hat-trick in the format. His overall economy-rate in the series stood at a stingy 5.41 and India could very well have ended up on the losing side if not for his record-breaking Nagpur intervention.
His growing reputation as a T20 specialist augurs well for the side and will give skipper Virat Kohli plenty of headaches when the likes of Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar and even Mohammed Shami return.
Shreyas Iyer could be the real deal at No4
Shreyas Iyer was unlucky not to be part of India’s World Cup squad.— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) November 10, 2019
Very talented batsman. Ruthless v spinners and great timer of the ball. Good time to get his maiden T20I fifty — in the decider.
He needed to be persisted with now needs to be backed#INDvsBAN #INDvBAN
One of the biggest positives for India was the growing maturity of Shreyas Iyer in the pivotal No4 role with the right-hander unfazed by any situation thrown in front of him.
The 24-year-old has put in a string of promising displays since making his return to the side earlier this year, and is increasingly starting to look like India’s answer to the crucial limited-overs batting spot with each passing series.
The youngster spanked eight sixes and seven boundaries in total in the three matches while collecting his 108 runs at a remarkable strike-rate of over 183. His big-hitting prowess wasn’t all about his brawn either, with Iyer showing that classical shots can fetch quick runs as well.
His 33-ball 62 in the series decider was worth its weight in gold and he is making an excellent case for himself to become India’s long-time successor to the No4 spot in both ODIs and T20s.
Dube shows glimpses of promise
It was an India debut to forget for Shivam Dube in the series opener in New Delhi, with the all-rounder failing miserably with both bat and ball. However, the team management has to be given credit for persisting with the 26-year-ol,d who finally showed his value at crunch time in Nagpur.
While he didn’t get many chances to impress with the bat, the Mumbai man showed how handy his medium pace can be for the team with three crucial wickets in the third T20.
He castled the dangerous Mushfiqur Rahim’s stumps with a clever change of pace before achieving the same result against the well-set Mohammad Naim with a searing yorker.
Those two wickets proved to be decisive with the visitors never really recovering from the blows. While Hardik Pandya has the pace all-rounder spot tied down for now, Dube can be an excellent alternative to have for India and he has time on his side to prove his worth further.
He will most likely be given another opportunity soon in the upcoming home series against the West Indies.
Still some holes to plug for India
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the hosts who were comprehensively beaten by Bangladesh in the first T20. Shikhar Dhawan’s diminishing strike-rate is a growing concern with the left-hander struggling to up the ante in New Delhi and Rajkot. His conservative approach has gone against the grain when it comes to India’s new all-out attacking T20 approach, and the pressure was clearly getting to him as he perished in the pursuit of quick runs in Nagpur.
Luckily for India, the likes of Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill are waiting in the wings, but they will still want Dhawan to regain his best form, given his penchant for performing in major ICC tournaments.
Rishabh Pant’s batting and glovework in limited-overs cricket continues to remain a concern as well, with the youngster falling to another rash dismissal in Nagpur. While Rohit has urged Pant’s critics to ‘leave him alone’, it is hard for the southpaw to escape criticism, especially after an alternate option in Sanju Samson has been recalled to the T20 set-up.
Meanwhile, Khaleel’s T20 credentials took another beating despite his much-improved showing in the final match of the series. The left-arm pacer went for over 10 runs an over in the Delhi and Rajkot clashes while a total of just two dismissals means he isn’t exactly pulling up trees with his wicket-taking ability.
His frustrating displays in the India shirt so far means that the team management might have to look elsewhere if they really want a left-armed pace variety in their bowling unit.
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