2nd T20I: Five Positives For Team India From Win Over Australia

Excellent fielding, Axar Patel’s arresting bowling, Jasprit Bumrah’s return; Rohit Sharma’s rollicking cameo, Karthik, the finsher: Five positives from India’s win over Australia

BENGALURU | Updated: 24 September, 2022 12:02 am IST
Skipper Rohit Sharma unleashed a sprightly cameo to steer his team to victory

On Friday, India got the better of Australia in the rain-curtailed 2nd T20I at Nagpur to level the three-match series 1-1. The game was an eight-over affair because of the delay caused by the wet outfield. After restricting Australia to 90-5, the hosts chased down the target in just 7.2 overs to secure a comfortable win.

Here are the 5 positives from the match for the Indian team:

1) Excellent fielding: Indian fielders dropped three crucial catches, along with many acts of misfields, in the first match of the series, which proved fatal as they slumped to defeat. But the ‘Men In Blue’ put up a much better effort in the field on Friday and reaped a rich dividend.

In the second over of the match, Cameron Green – who had cracked a tubthumping fifty in the first T20I – pushed the ball to mid-on and scampered for a run, but the supremely vigilant Virat Kohli pulled off a fabulous direct-hit to send him back to the pavilion. The early wicket set the ball rolling for India and they always looked in control throughout the match.

2) Axar’s arresting spell: At a time when India are finding it tricky to get their bowling line-up in shape, Axar Patel has stepped up as a bonanza. Even when Australian batters slaughtered Indian bowlers in the first match and chased down 209, Axar had snapped up three wickets for just 17.

On Friday at Nagpur, Axar once again validated his limited-overs utility by chalking up two important wickets for just 13 runs in 2 overs. As is his wont, he bowled wicket-to-wicket and varied his length astutely. He castled Glenn Maxwell and Tim David neck-and-crop as both of them tried to swish him across the line in vain.

Because of his economical spell, India managed to hold Australia to only 90 runs in 8 overs.

3) Jasprit Bumrah’s return: In the absence of Bumrah, due to injury, India’s death-overs bowling was looking shoddy and terribly substandard. The supersonic pacer played his first international match after a hiatus of more than two months and bowled pretty well. His searing yorker to clean up Australian captain Aaron Finch was such a jaffa that even the batter appreciated it.

But more importantly, his bowling dispelled all the notions about his fitness. He is one of the best T20I bowlers and India’s fortunes in the T20 World Cup will certainly hinge on how he bowls in the marquee tournament.

4) Rohit’s rollicking cameo: Though one cannot cast aspersions on his form, the Indian captain’s performance in the T20I format has been blow-hot-blow-cold in 2022. But on Friday, Rohit unleashed a sprightly cameo to steer his team to victory. In the first over, bowled by Josh Hazlewood, he larruped two mammoth sixes and completely eased the pressure.

Later, he creamed a couple of more sixes – including a gorgeous inside-out shot against leg-spinner Adam Zampa – and ensured that India never stuttered in the run-chase. He remained unbeaten for 46 off 20 balls.

5) Karthik, the finisher: Dinesh Karthik once again evinced that the team management shouldn’t fiddle with his batting order. India needed 9 runs off the last over and Karthik walloped a six off the first ball to calm the nerves of millions of fans. On the next delivery, he dexterously flayed a boundary to finish the match.

Earlier this year, many people raised questions about his place in the team, but by reeling off a slew of energetic innings at critical junctures, he has proven his pedigree as a finisher. He will be one of the most important players for India in the upcoming T20 World Cup, which might be his last outing in international cricket.

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