IND vs BAN: Reserve strength coming to the fore for India

In Deepak Chahar and Shivam Dube, India has two useful performers who can step up in the absence of their more experienced team members.

Cock-a-hoop: Deepak Chahar celebrates his hat-trick in the third T20I in Nagpur on Sunday.   -  Vivek Bendre

India finished the series on a high, saving its most resilient performance for the third and final T20. The most gratifying aspect of Sunday’s win was that its principal architects were two bowlers with only eight previous T20 Internationals between them. Deepak Chahar and Shivam Dube belied their inexperience, hauling India out of a trough on an evening when the dew made life difficult for bowlers.

The emergence of Chahar, who was the player of the match and the series, following his record-breaking spell of six for seven at the VCA Stadium, is a major positive for India. Used primarily in the PowerPlay overs by CSK, where he made his name in T20 cricket as a swing bowler, Chahar showed on Sunday that he was a smart, versatile operator. He bowled only one over in the PowerPlay, when he took two wickets, and was brought back at a stage when the ball was wet and India was under the cosh.

Uparwala karaata hain (God makes it happen),” he said, rather modestly, at the presentation. “You don’t think you will ever take 6 for 7 in a T20. Usually I bowl with new ball. But Rohit bhai said he’ll make me bowl the crucial overs today, whenever the team needed me. I’m quite happy that responsibility was given to me.”

Reliable option

Chahar was, by a distance, the most economical of India’s bowlers over the three matches, going at 5.41 runs an over. He now presents Virat Kohli a reliable pace-bowling option alongside Jasprit Bumrah and — fitness permitting — Bhuvneshwar Kumar, leading into next year’s T20 World Cup.

Dube, whose numbers in domestic T20 cricket contained nothing to suggest he was a match-winning bowler, was impressive too, performing when it counted. He did not exactly shine with the bat in his two innings but that is less of a worry. For now, Dube would seem to be the best deputy to Hardik Pandya, a player for whom India has no direct replacement.

Read | Playing for CSK taught me how to counter sweat and dew, says Chahar

India’s spinners were understandably not at their best on Sunday, but Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar were excellent in the two previous fixtures. Chahal, who was omitted from the Indian sides for the T20Is against South Africa and West Indies, served a proper reminder (if one were needed) of his abilities. Sundar was impressive yet again in the PowerPlay overs although he will come up against teams stacked with power-hitters at the top, an area where Bangladesh was thoroughly deficient.

Impactful knock

K. L. Rahul’s innings on Sunday came at what looks like a critical juncture in his career. He is a batsman capable of scoring big runs across formats; it is important to India that he rediscovers his touch and confidence. Shreyas Iyer, meanwhile, earned a reprieve on 0 before tearing the bowling apart. “I decided that if it is in my zone, I will not control myself,” he said of his unfettered hitting. His knock made the kind of impact India has needed from a No. 4 in limited-overs cricket for some time now.

After scoring two significant half-centuries in the West Indies ODIs (albeit at 5), Shreyas now has the opportunity to nail down a berth in the middle-order in white-ball cricket. “It has been a really important last few series for me, to set the benchmark at the No. 4 position, which all of us are competing for at the moment,” he said. “They (team management) have given me the message that ‘You'll be there at No.4. Even if Kohli and Rohit get out, we need someone to finish the game and bat till the end.’”

There is much that India has gained from this series. Rohit Sharma put it well at the presentation. “We can try a lot of things before we get on the flight to Australia,” he said. “But if we keep performing the way we did today, it’s going to be a big headache for Virat and the selectors.”