Despite a concerted batting effort and a three-wicket shot from Axar Patel, the Indian side conceded the first T20I against Australia by four wickets at Mohali on Tuesday, September 20.
KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya scored half centuries either side of Suryakumar Yadav’s middle blitz as India posted a challenging 208 on the board. But bowlers failed to deliver a batting dream to Mohali as Australia reduced the total in the final thanks to key contributions from Cameron Green and Matthew Wade.
The Men in Blue don’t have much time to iron out the flaws in their armor, with the T20 World Cup looming on the horizon. Here are three mistakes India made in the first T20I against Australia.
#3 Rohit Sharma’s bowler rotation could have been better
Difficult to point the finger too much at the captain, who did his best in extremely difficult conditions for his bowlers. He used two spin overs in the power play to good effect and was proactive overall. But Rohit Sharma could have handled a few key moments in the game better.
After Rohit brought Umesh Yadav back for his second place, the pacer overcame a costly start by picking up wickets from Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell in quick succession. But he was taken out of the attack immediately, never to be seen again in the innings.
At the death, Harshal Patel and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had two overs apiece from 16-19. The decision to pitch them at a trot made things a bit too predictable for the Aussie batters, who braced for the cutters in the field of the first and the yorker attempts of the second.
Rohit did well to give Umesh his crucial second and also used Axar well. But if he had been a bit more creative with his bowling changes, India would have had a better chance of defending their tally.
#2 India’s death bowling plans were off the mark
Speaking of death bowling plans, Harshal and Bhuvneshwar were wrong against Australia. And surprisingly, it wasn’t just the execution that went wrong, it was also the planning.
Harshal tried to kick the ball into the wicket, aiming for the batters’ underbelly with staggered deliveries throughout his spell. This completely eliminated any deception from his bowling as the Australians knew what to expect and they pushed him over the limit on the leg side with alarming ease. Unlike Nathan Ellis, who mixed his lengths well in the early innings, Harshal was too predictable.
At the other end, Bhuvneshwar tried to send yorkers to the pads. But after some gently timed boundaries from Matthew Wade, he abandoned those plans and hit a few balls on the field. Needless to say, Wade happily dispatched them for the limits in his favorite strike zones.
Harshal’s missed yorkers and Bhuvneshwar’s wides can be forgiven, but planning was the real culprit of the first T20I. Jasprit Bumrah’s return could not have come sooner for India.
#1 India gave multiple lives to Aussie batters
Cameron Green, opening batting for the first time in professional cricket, made his intentions very clear in the second leg of the Australian innings. He pumped Umesh Yadav for four fours, one of which burst through the hands of the pacer en route to the far boundary. Tough grass luck kicked off an enchanted innings for the visitors.
In Yuzvendra Chahal’s very first game, Green played and missed a sweep, with none of the Indians even making a serious appeal. Replays showed the ball crashing into the leg stump. Later, Axar Patel hit a direct chance at deep midwicket with Green on 42. The batter responded by immediately finding a four.
In the next part, Steve Smith was the man given a reprieve as KL Rahul made a lazy long term effort. The result? Green pumped Axar over the midwicket boundary on the next ball for a huge six, with Smith continuing to hit a four and a six before being sent off.
India have given multiple lives to Aussie batters, something they can’t afford to do against quality opposition.
Q. Can Bhuvneshwar Kumar be trusted to play death?
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