India’s new batting approach, bowling woes: Takeaways from the Australia T20I series

The Rohit Sharma-led India has got just three matches to get the combinations right before the T20 World Cup and immediate measures must be taken to arrest the leakages in the bowling department.  

India sealed yet another T20I series at home as it beat Australia by six wickets after a nervy run-chase in Hyderabad on Sunday. 

India sealed yet another T20I series at home as it beat Australia by six wickets after a nervy run-chase in Hyderabad on Sunday.  | Photo Credit: PTI

The Rohit Sharma-led India has got just three matches to get the combinations right before the T20 World Cup and immediate measures must be taken to arrest the leakages in the bowling department.  

India’s new aggressive T20I batting approach and the execution from its top order have given the team a much-needed revival. After the Asia Cup debacle, India bounced back to beat defending champion Australia 2-1 to win the three-match T20I series. 

Although the batters dazzled, the bowlers were exposed and humbled under lights in Mohali, Nagpur and Hyderabad. 

The Rohit Sharma-led India has got just three matches to get the permutations and combinations right before the T20 World Cup and immediate measures must be taken to arrest the leakages in the bowling department.  

The Bowling Woes 

India’s fast bowling unit got bolstered with the return of Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel. However, the recently concluded T20I series against Australia exposed the chinks in the bowling armoury with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal and even Bumrah being taken to the cleaners. Bhuvneshwar entered the series on the back of a five-wicket haul but he was treated with disdain in Mohali as the pacer went wicketless giving away 52 runs in four overs. 

Indian bowlers failing to create chances in the PowerPlay is a matter of concern as Australia had the upper hand scoring fifty-plus scores in the two full-fledged games in the T20I series.

Harshal’s figures of 0-49 in Mohali, 0/32 (2 overs) in the rain-truncated match in Nagpur and 1/18 (2 overs) in Hyderabad certainly don’t justify the talent and skill he brings to the table. A death overs specialist, Harshal’s slower ones - his strength - were picked with relative ease and were deposited in the stands by the Australian batters. 

The right-arm medium pacer who deceives the batters by varying his pace and bowling into-the-pitch could never recover from the hammering as the series progressed. It is imperative that Harshal finds his rhythm back and the South Africa T20Is offer him a chance to rediscover his bowling.  

Similarly, Bhuvneshwar with vast experience lacked penetration in his bowling as the swing bowler went for 91 runs with just a wicket to his credit in the two matches he played. His 0/52 in Mohali highlighted the lack of execution and he would look to bounce back with some innovation leading to the T20 World Cup. 

India’s bowling spearhead Jasprit Bumrah created an unwanted record in Hyderabad as the pacer recorded his worst-ever bowling performance, conceding 50 runs in his four overs, without taking a wicket. 

The only silver lining in the bowling unit was Axar Patel as the spinner not only bowled inside the Powerplay but also took crucial wickets. The left-arm spinner snapped two three-wicket hauls (3/17 in Mohali) and (3/33 in Hyderabad) to end the series with 8/63 and stepped up in the final to shift the momentum in India’s favour. 

Axar has become a specialist in bowling inside the PowerPlay and then returning to the attack during the end, fizzing the ball and picking crucial wickets. Yuzvendra Chahal continues to lead the spin attack and was quick to adjust his variations and speed after a forgettable Mohali encounter to cap off a decent outing. 

The New Batting Approach  

India’s new-found attacking style of play has yielded the team good results with both Rohit and Rahul showing intent and aggressive in their strokeplay. Although Rohit and Rahul departed inside the PowerPlay in the decider, the momentum was with India with Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav later brushing aside the Australians. 

India’s conservative approach of having wickets in hand and going for a late kick has changed and by taking the attacking route, with the captain leading from the front with his pulls and cuts, the batting looks formidable. 

The boon for India is the return of Virat Kohli who found his mojo back as the modern-day master scored his 71st ton recently, ending 1021 days of century drought. Kohli continued his rich vein of form against Australia as in a tough chase of 187, he dropped anchor, banked on his agricultural shots, ran hard between the wickets, drove elegantly and added 104 off 62 balls with Suryakumar to drive India home. If Kohli is back among runs, Suryakumar is at his best, exhibiting breath-taking shots and steering run chases. 

The likes of Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik have proved their worth with some blitzkriegs. It rained sixes from Hardik’s bat in Mohali as the all-rounder stamped his dominance with a 30-ball 71 while Dinesh Karthik exhibited his finishing skills in the second T2OI.

The batters are going all guns blazing and while the Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik puzzle keeps running, the indifferent form of the bowlers will be the most discussed in the team meetings. Rohit knows it has to be plugged in. After all, it’s just 20 days to go for the T20 World Cup.

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