Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 29 January 2020

Leg-spinners, keeper Rishabh Pant in focus during India-Bangladesh T20 series decider

Tigers looking to secure first series success on India soil during match in Nagpur

Yuzvendra Chahal has been India's most effective bowler during the T20 series against Bangladesh. AFP
Yuzvendra Chahal has been India's most effective bowler during the T20 series against Bangladesh. AFP

The three-match T20 series between India and Bangladesh is well and truly alive. After Bangladesh clinched the pollution-hit Delhi T20, the Indians hit back with a convincing win in Rajkot.

Captain Rohit Sharma missed out on a deserved century by 15 runs in the previous game that set up an easy eight-wicket victory while chasing 154, underlining his importance to India in white-ball cricket.

The third match of the series will be played in Nagpur on Sunday and the Tigers still have a chance to secure their first series on Indian soil.

Chasing success

Both matches of the series have been won by teams batting second. Bangladesh sailed to a seven-wicket triumph in Delhi – after being behind the eight ball – following a late burst by Mushfiqur Rahim that included four successive fours in the penultimate over of the chase.

In the second match, Rohit ended the contest by the 10th over. His innings of 85 with six sixes and as many fours ensured the hosts won without breaking sweat.

Chasing in the evening during winter months in India is considered the better option as the ball almost always gets wet because of dew. Some venues experience it more than others but it remains a factor nonetheless.

However, the situation is slightly different in Nagpur where teams bowling second have won eight out of 11 T20s. The wicket in Nagpur offers a lot of help to the spinners, which should make chasing more difficult than the first two games. So a tricky choice for the captain that wins the toss.

Indian captain Rohit Sharma, left, speaks with Shivam Dube during a practice session ahead of their third T20 international cricket match against Bangladesh in Nagpur, India, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Rohit Sharma, left,speaks with Shivam Dube in Nagpur on Saturday. AP

Leg-spinners rule

Leggies on both sides have done exceptionally well so far. For India, Yuzvendra Chahal has been a standout performer with figures of 1-24 and 2-28 while for the visitors, Aminul Islam has recorded figures of 2-22 and 2-29. The wickets have offered help to the slow bowlers but these two have bowled at just the right pace to extract the most out of the pitches.

Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo said in T20 cricket, it is imperative to have a quality leg-spinner. "I have always liked a leg-spinner in the playing XI. I know Aminul is more of a batsman who bowls leg-spin, but I have been impressed by his energy," Domingo said.

"He is a great guy to have in the team. Even against Rohit in the previous game, he ended up bowling 3.5 overs with two wickets for 23 runs before going for a six."

For the hosts, opening seamer Deepak Chahar has been at his miserly best, which is good news because his fellow new-ball bowler Khaleel Ahmed has had two poor outings, going for nine and 11 an over.

Rohit has no option but to drop Khaleel and bring in the more experienced Shardul Thakur. The other player they will be looking at is wicketkeeper batsman Sanju Samson. KL Rahul and Shivam Dube have hardly uprooted any trees so far, so either one of them could make way for the talented Samson.

Bangladesh might want to drop the under-performing Mosaddek Hossain and bring in a pure batsman or a bowler.

India's wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant reacts during the first T20 international cricket match of a three-match series between Bangladesh and India, at Arun Jaitley Cricket Stadium in New Delhi on November 3, 2019. ----IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE----- / AFP / Jewel SAMAD / ----IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE-----
Rishabh Pant has not been at his best with the bat or gloves. AFP

Spotlight on Rishabh Pant

In the first T20 in Delhi, the crowd jeered local boy Pant after he made two wrong calls on a decision review. The wicketkeeper has constantly faced comparisons with MS Dhoni and every mistake of his is magnified. In the second T20, Pant had the stumping of Liton Das struck off as he had collected the ball in front of the stumps.

With the bat, the left-handed batsman managed a below par 27 off 26 balls in Delhi. The southpaw has struggled to execute the big shots during crunch moments for the best part of a season and it is beginning to take its toll.

There is a sense of frustration and anxiety in Pant’s cricket, be it with the bat or gloves. If he doesn’t find a way to be comfortable in what he offers, the pressure of expectations will get the better of him. There are ready replacements like Rahul and Samson in the squad ready to take his place.

Updated: November 9, 2019 04:04 PM

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