A solid Indian batting lineup went well in patches

India started and ended their Asian Cup campaign with a bang. But in the two crucial matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka between the two in the Super Four stage, India hit the mark. Either the top order hit and the middle order didn’t, or it was the other way around, and the deaths in those two matches left a lot to be desired.

It was only ironic that Virat Kohli’s first-ever T20I hundred (122 steps on 61 balls), which broke his 1,020-day international drought, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s best T20I numbers of five-for-four from four overs came in an inconsequential game against Afghanistan on Thursday after both teams were out of contention for the final.

Also read: Ravindra Jadeja undergoes successful knee surgery, thanks BCCI, teammates and others for their support

Long before the start of the Asian Cup, defending champions India, who won the 50+ format of this Cup in 2018 in Bangladesh, were to face Pakistan in the final. That would have meant three consecutive Super Sundays to pique the interest of spectators.

As Pakistan reached the final in style, they will face Sri Lanka for the right to be called the best T20I team in Asia. India lost two important matches to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in identical penultimate deliveries by five wickets and six wickets, respectively.

The trend in Dubai is that chasing teams have won the majority of games and, as KL Rahul said after the 101-point win over Afghanistan, throwing has proven to be a deciding factor in this Cup. Asia than any other tournament India has hosted. previously played in Dubai.

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The experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar produced perhaps his career-best numbers, and third-best by an Indian, against Afghanistan on Thursday, his wickets coming out on top with some nice swings.

But, it was his disappointing bowling in the death matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, sending full pitches, short and wide stump pitches giving the batsmen enough space to get the bat on the ball. Giving away crucial 19 and 14 points in the 19th of two matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, respectively, was a major contributor to India’s early exit.

Kumar’s save rate, which was 7.40 after four Asian Cup matches, has become more impressive at 6.05, thanks to his miserly spell on Thursday. It was left to the young and inexperienced Arshdeep Singh to defend seven identical points in the final of the two matches.

Only in his second month of international cricket, Singh could do little when the batsmen took aim. However, with the exception of the match against Hong Kong, where he played 44 races, the 23-year-old has shown his willingness to learn and improve with each outing. And, with his Yorkers falling in the right places more often than not in the finals, and being a southpaw, Singh will be an invaluable asset to the Indian squad going forward. The way he took the ball and kicked the last one immediately after dropping an Asif Ali keeper in 19th place spoke volumes about his confidence and eagerness to do well for the country.

Indian bowling as a whole may have been weakened by the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel due to injuries of varying proportions, as well as the retention of death specialist Deepak Chahar as a reserve player, before he eventually replaced beloved point guard Avesh Khan, who was ruled. out of the last game due to illness. Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round expertise was also missed in the Super Four as he injured his right knee which he had recently undergone surgery for.

However, in the matches Khan played, his save rate only increased from 8.68 to 9.11, conceding 19 runs in two overs against Pakistan and 53 in four overs against Hong Kong. Khan hasn’t done well to claim his claim to the upcoming T20 World Cup and would be the first to relent when Bumrah returns to the squad.

Khan aside, experienced spinner Yuzvendra Chahal should have been put to much better effect. Chahal may have taken three wickets in the space of two overs in the middle of Pakistan’s Super Four chase, but he should have taken many more wickets, considering he was the highest wicket taker India’s T20I entering the tournament but was passed by Kumar at the end. Kumar has 84 T20I wickets, leaving Chahal behind by one.

India suffered from the lack of a third tailor and Hardik Pandya played that role to a decent extent, although he could have brought his experience and contained the Pakistanis and Lankans in the Super Four.

The only spinner who impressed was unorthodox leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi, who made 26 runs and won a wicket against Pakistan when he should have taken at least one more. But, he was left out of Game 11 for the Sri Lanka and Afghanistan games. As team vice-captain Rahul, who led the team in the absence of Rohit Sharma resting for the last match, said Bishnoi had to wait for his matches as the team already had Chahal, who won games for the country.

India’s solid batting lineup went well in patches. It was at its best in the last game against Afghanistan when they posted their eighth-highest T20I total of 212 for two, including a 119-run stand for the first wicket between substitute captain Rahul and fly-half Virat Kohli.

Kohli was India’s top scorer in the tournament, posting 276 runs in five sets at 92.00. Barring a shaky start against Pakistan in which he scored 35 against Pakistan, he was on course to score 59 not eliminated against Hong Kong, 60 against Pakistan and the century, regardless of the fourth-ball duck against Sri Lanka.

Rahul was at his best with 62 after a first-ball duck in the tournament opener and a slow 36 against Hong Kong. His confidence wasn’t at its best when he fell for 6 but he took the liberty of striking free in a game that had little impact on the tournament to post his only half-century in the tournament on Thursday.

While Rohit started he only managed against Sri Lanka with 72, Suryakumar Yadav played a winner against Hong Kong in his typical fashion. But the Indian stick lacked consistency.

Either that didn’t continue from where the biggest order left and that prevented them from making a few extra runs that would have been crucial in the Super Four games that went up to the front. – last delivery.

Or, it was under pressure after the higher order struggled that he played it safe rather than taking risks. And, when they took risks, they ended up giving takes, as Rishabh Pant, Deepak Hooda and Hardik Pandya fell in the crucial finals against Sri Lanka.

This Indian side will be boosted by Kohli’s return to form, but what they need are strong and consistent starts from Rohit and Rahul, with Yadav, Pant and Pandya needing to continue where the first order has gone regularly. When they launch, they are unstoppable by any stretch of the imagination. If they can be more consistent in doing this, nothing can stop India from lifting the World Cup.

The big question mark is “If”.

India will need all their players fit and ready for the World Cup. Bumrah, it is understood, is set to be fully fit, Jadeja’s recovery will be watched before he selects the World Cup squad as it remains unclear if Patel will be fit enough.

The Indian team’s performance in the Asian Cup has been a revelation for Rohit and head coach Rahul Dravid to do some soul-searching and find the right balance ahead of the World Cup. This team promises a lot. Now is the time to deliver in unison. And, constantly at that.

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