At this point in time, the state of the Indian cricket team reflects life: you don’t get over a challenge sooner than the next.
After India successfully sorted out their batting, with their top-order now looking for straight boundaries, they must have thought it was time to take a breather. But recently his death bowling has started giving him a headache.
Since January 2022, 33 bowlers have bowled 20 or more death overs in T20 cricket. Among them Harshal Patel (10.45) has the tenth worst economy rate. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is somewhere in the middle with 9.54.
In the first match of the ongoing series, India posted 208 for 6, their highest T20I total against Australia. While chasing their target, Australia needed 55 from the last four overs but with four balls to spare.
Yes, the Mohali pitch was flat, the outfield power and boundaries were short, but there was hardly any dew. If India didn’t have Jasprit Bumrah, Australia too would have been without David Warner, Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis.
However, India has a solution for the T20 World Cup, if not this series. After Bumrah returns, he should solve half the problem. And while Arshdeep Singh is not in the squad for the Australia series, he could be tried in place of Harshal during the South Africa T20Is. With a death-over economy of 7.16, Arshdeep ranks third in the above list.
Meanwhile, Australia would be pleased with their captain Aaron Finch’s sign of a return to form after a poor time in ODIs this year. He set the tone in the powerplay by dismissing Bhuvneshwar for 22 runs in two overs. Among other positives, Steven Smith scored 35 off 24 balls while batting at No 3 for the first time since last October and Matthew Wade once again displayed his finishing skills with an unbeaten 45 off 21 balls.
The visitors will be looking to seal the series in Nagpur itself, which will be another big boost in the absence of many first-choice players.
India LWLLW (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
in the headlines
If fully fit, Bumrah should replace Umesh Yadav for India. The hosts may also consider bringing in R Ashwin for Yuzvendra Chahal.
India (Probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (Captain), 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Dinesh Karthik (WK), 7 Axar Patel, 8 Harshal Patel, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Jasprit Bumrah/ Umesh Yadav, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal/R Ashwin
Australia are likely to remain unchanged, with Kane Richardson, who missed the first T20I due to a minor injury, still unavailable. If they decide to rest either Josh Hazlewood or Pat Cummins, Sean Abbott could come.
Australia (Probable): 1 Aaron Finch (c), 2 Cameron Green, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Josh Inglis, 6 Tim David, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Nathan Ellis, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood
pitch and conditions
India’s practice session on Thursday was canceled due to rain. It is likely to be mostly cloudy on Friday and the temperature will be around 25 degree Celsius.
statistics and general knowledge
- Nine teams have won out of 12 T20Is in Nagpur batting first,
- only 45 runs Separate the top two run-scorers in T20Is Rohit Sharma (3631) and Virat Kohli (3586).
- Bhuvneshwar and Chahal have 84 T20I wickets – the most for India in the format.
- Hazlewood is two short of 50 T20I wickets. If he gets there on Friday, in what will be his 32nd T20I match, he will better Mitchell Starc’s Australian record of 40 matches.
“I don’t bat much in the nets, I practice separately, but from what I have faced, I can say that Harshal Patel’s slow deliveries and his other variations are very deceptive. He really worked hard at it. He’s just back. From an injury, so let’s give him some of that advantage.”
Suryakumar Yadav If picking up Herschel’s slower balls made it easier
“Having some good experience playing in India, finishing the game, understanding how it flows and how to play, or when it lines up in front of you. There can be an advantage to batting second in Indian conditions It was a good experience, IPL, to be out there in the middle of the second night.”
Tim David When his IPL experience comes in handy
Hemant Brar is the Sub-Editor at ESPNcricinfo