Tuesday, April 23, 2024

India’s T20I streak faces the crucible in Bengaluru


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Bengaluru, Jan 16: India’s formidable record in bilateral men’s T20I series at home faces scrutiny as they approach the series finale against Afghanistan in Bengaluru.
Having clinched 13 victories and two draws in the last five years, the team’s refusal to bat first in the recent six-wicket win has ignited discussions in the ever-watchful social media space.
As the T20 World Cup looms closer, Sunday’s match becomes a pivotal yet enigmatic fixture. Positioned both as a lead-up to the global tournament and a seemingly inconsequential dead-rubber, Bengaluru’s significance may only fully unravel in the coming months.
Axar Patel and Washington Sundar’s impressive bowling performances have shone through the series, providing depth to India’s lineup. The flat pitch and short boundaries of Bengaluru offer another opportunity to assess this combination, potentially impacting India’s strategy in the T20 World Cup.
Afghanistan, hindered by a lack of batting firepower, seeks to break their T20I duck against India. The onus may fall on top-order batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who showed glimpses of form in Indore. His ability to convert rhythm into a substantial contribution holds the key to Afghanistan’s hopes.
With the series secured, India might experiment with players like Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav, and Avesh Khan in Bengaluru.
The M Chinnaswamy Stadium, known for high-scoring contests, could witness a shift in conditions. The recent T20I, where spinners played a pivotal role, prompts speculation about the nature of the pitch prepared for this clash.
Despite a hint of green on the eve of the match, the groundstaff’s preparation suggests a return to more typical Chinnaswamy conditions.
The forecast indicates a clear, pleasant evening in the mid-20s Celsius, setting the stage for an intriguing conclusion to the series and insights into India’s T20I preparations for the upcoming global spectacle.
Arshdeep Singh’s chaotic journey in T20Is will reach its culmination point at the Chinnaswamy Stadium during the third match against Afghanistan on Wednesday, and he is banking on the recent experience of bowling with new-ball to ace the latest test of his skills.
Arshdeep took four wickets from as many matches against the Aussies last year, but in each of those matches he conceded 41, 46, 44 and 40 runs in four overs.
But against South Africa and Afghanistan, the left-arm pacer had relatively better outings – four wickets across four matches at an acceptable overall economy of eight.
Those performances offered a microcosm of Arshdeep’s efforts from January 5, 2023 to January 14, 2024 as his economy oscillated between 7.5 and above 10.
The Punjab man accepted that his journey was a mixed bag during the above-mentioned period. (PTI)


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