India’s new batting approach, bowling woes: Takeaways from Australia’s T20 series

India’s new aggressive T20I batting approach and execution of their top order has given the team a much-needed revival. After the Asian Cup debacle, India bounced back to beat defending champions Australia 2-1 to win the three-game T20I series.

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

Rohit Sharma-led India have just three matches to get the permutations and combinations just before the T20 World Cup and immediate action needs to be taken to stop the leaks in the bowling department.

The woes of bowling

India’s fast bowling unit has gone from strength to strength with the return of Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel. However, the recently concluded T20I series against Australia exposed the flaws in the bowling arsenal with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal and even Bumrah being taken to the cleaners. Bhuvneshwar entered the series on the back of a five-wicket run but was treated with disdain at Mohali as the pacer went wicketless, giving up 52 runs in four overs.

India’s bowlers failing to create chances in the PowerPlay is a concern as Australia had the upper hand scoring over fifty scores in the two full-fledged matches of the T20I series.

Harshal’s numbers of 0-49 at Mohali, 0/32 (2 overs) in the rain truncated match at Nagpur and 1/18 (2 overs) at Hyderabad certainly do not justify the talent and skill he brings at the table. A specialist in death overs, Harshal’s slower ones – his strength – were picked with relative ease and dropped into the stands by the Aussie batters.

The average right-arm pacer who tricks hitters into varying his pace and playing the field could never recover from the pounding as the series progressed. It is imperative that Harshal find his rhythm and the T20Is of South Africa offer him a chance to rediscover his bowling.

Similarly, Bhuvneshwar with vast experience lacked penetration in his bowling as the swing bowler made 91 runs with just one wicket to his name in the two games he played. His 0/52 at Mohali highlighted the lack of execution and he would look to bounce back with an innovation leading to the T20 World Cup.

Indian bowling spearhead Jasprit Bumrah set an unwanted record in Hyderabad as the pacer recorded his worst 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 played inside the Powerplay but also took crucial wickets. The left-arm spinner hit two three-wicket shots (3/17 at Mohali) and (3/33 at Hyderabad) to end the series with 8/63 and stepped up in the final to change the momentum in favor of India.

Axar became a bowling specialist inside the PowerPlay, then came back on the attack at 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 attacking style of play has given the team good results, with Rohit and Rahul showing intention and aggression in their stroke play. Although Rohit and Rahul went inside the PowerPlay in the decider, the momentum was with India with Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav later shooing away the Australians.

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

The boon for India is the return of Virat Kohli who has regained his mojo as the modern-day master recently scored his 71st tonne, ending 1,021 days of centuries-old drought. Kohli continued his rich vein of form against Australia as in a tough 187 chase he dropped anchor, banked on his agricultural shots, ran hard between the wickets, drove elegantly and added 104 balls on 62 with Suryakumar to bring India home. If Kohli is back among the runs, Suryakumar is at his best, showing off jaw-dropping shots and direction chases.

The likes of Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik proved their worth with a few blitzkriegs. It rained from Hardik’s six at bat to Mohali as the versatile scored his dominance with a 71 from 30 balls while Dinesh Karthik showed his finishing skills in the second T2OI.

The batters are firing on all cylinders and while the Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik puzzle continues to spin, the bowlers’ indifferent form will be the most discussed at team meetings. Rohit knows he must be plugged in. After all, there are only 20 days left until the T20 World Cup.

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