Chennai: The T20 series Down under is sealed with both India and Australia sharing honours. In a must-win game, Krunal Pandya helped India restrict Australia for 164 after the hosts got off to a great start.
Krunal’s four-wicket haul was the turning point in the match, before Virat’s fifty helped India seal the series. Despite the series result, ending India’s seven consecutive series victories in T20s, India can still hold its head high as rain played spoilsport in the first two games.
Before India heads to the gruelling Test series starting on 6 December, ‘News Today‘ takes a look at some of the takeaways from the T20I series.
Fitting the all-rounder’s shoe
Krunal Pandya’s maiden four wicket haul in T20s was the major highlight for India in the victory. What was more impressive was the way he came back in the series after a thrashing he received in the first game, where he conceded 53 runs off his four overs.
He trapped Darcy Short, Ben Mc Dermott lbw off successive balls, before dismissing Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey to shift the momentum back to India after Australia was cruncing at 73 for 1 after the end of nine overs.
With Harik Pandya out with injury, Krunal has marked his place as the sole all-rounder in the squad. However, he still lacks in experience. It will be interesting to see whether he finds a regular place in the playing XI after the return of Hardik and India also can’t afford to leave out Yuzvendra Chahal by including Krunal in his place.
So a question of whether Krunal Pandya finds a permanent place in the playing XI ahead of Hardik and Chahal posts a debate.
The curious case of Pant and Rahul
Once again it was India’s openers and Kohli along with the ‘finisher’ Dinesh Karthik, who batted well. Despite a silent series for Rohit Sharma, Dhawan looked in sublime form to clinch the Man of the Series title. However the series has raised questions about India’s middle order.
KL Rahul has been given the opportunity to bat at number 3 and his poor form continued in this series as well. Against West Indies, he managed just 59 runs in three innings and in Australia, he averages a meagre 13.50 while his strike rate is also under 100.
His innings in the Sydney T20 came under the scanner after he struggled to rotate the strike, managing just 14 runs in 20 balls before getting out to Glenn Maxwell with a catch to long-off. His poor form also raises a question of whether he should be the first-choice opener for the Test series down under.
Same is the case with Rishabh Pant, having replaced MS Dhoni, in the five T20I innings he has batted so far, Pant failed miserably, managing just one half-century in the last T20I against the West Indies in Chennai.
At Brisbane, he was out at the crucial juncture, failing to get the team past the finish line and in the must win game at Sydney, he got out first ball, miscuing a pull and edging it to the keeper. Rishabh Pant’s poor show with the gloves is also not a good sign considering the fact that he is the first-choice wicket-keeper in the Test series. The failures of both these batsmen has suddenly exposed the deficiencies in the Indian middle order.
India’s fielding coach after the Nidhahas Trophy victory this year said that the Indian fielding is the best in limited overs format and the fact cannot be denied as over the past few years, the standards had considerably improved.
However, in the recently concluded T20 series, India’s fielding came under the spotlight as throughout the series the Indians failed to match their own fielding standards.
It all started with Virat Kohli missing an easy catch at covers off Aaron Finch during the first game in Brisbane. The match also saw several mis-fields, missed run out and dropped chances, and it continued in the remaining two games as well that culminated with Rohit Sharma dropping a sitter at Sydney. Poor fielding adds woe to India as they can’t afford to drop a catch or misfield in the impending Test series against Australia.