Rohit Sharma’s vibrant India will look to continue the winning run and extend their rule over the West Indies when they clash in the second T20 International on Monday. The visitors are coming off a comprehensive win in the opener of the five-game series. What separated the two teams in the first match was not only the all-round performance, but also the shrewd captaincy of Rohit, who fielded his three spinners Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi.
Another win would only boost India’s confidence further as they aim to gain momentum ahead of the big T20 World Cup later this year.
If it was Rishabh Pant running out an opener in the T20Is against England with Rohit, Suryakumar saw Yadav fill that role in the first game against the West Indies.
Suryakumar, who turned out to be the seventh opener for India in T20Is this year, got off to a quick start (24 from 16 balls) until Akeal Hosein blocked his progress.
It will be interesting to see if the team management continues to experiment as KL Rahul is unavailable for now.
Rise of Arshdeep
Over the years, the Indian team has not had a good left arm pacemaker, but that could change with the emergence of the promising Arshdeep Singh, who made a mark in the first match with his tight spell.
The 23-year-old Punjab pacer showed promise during his four-over spell, especially the way he knocked off opener Kyle Myers with a premeditated short ball.
At the end of the match, Arshdeep bowled brilliantly when he knocked out all-rounder Akeal Hosein with a perfect yorker.
The designated finisher
After Rohit left after a captain’s knock of 64 of 44 deliveries, things started to slow for India.
While the visitors were on course to finish around 170, veteran Dinesh Karthik had other ideas and helped the team set a goal of over 190.
The 37-year-old again won the finisher role (41 from 19 balls) to help the team accumulate 36 runs in the last two overs.
Given Karthik’s prowess, he’d like to see his chances of an encore.
“These are the little boxes we need at this stage of the game, but the ultimate goal is to do well in the T20 World Cup in Australia,” Karthik said to his team-mate Ashwin after the first game.
Ashwin, Bishnoi spinning a web
Both Ashwin and young leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi made significant contributions in the first game.
Ashwin (2/22 from 4 overs), who was brought back into the T20 squad after a while, showed he still has a lot going for it, the shortest format.
21-year-old Bishnoi (2/26 out of 4 overs) also showed that he is there to perform on the big stage.
It remains to be seen whether the team management will continue with the trio of Jadeja, Ashwin and Bishnoi, or bring in players like Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav.
Teams (out): India: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Dinesh Karthik, Sanju Samson, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Parel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneswar Kumar, Harshal Patel West Indies: Nicholas Pooran (Captain), Rovman Powell, Shamarh Brooks, Dominic Drakes, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Obed McCoy, Keemo Paul, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Devon Thomas, Hayden Walsh.
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