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Rediff.com  » Cricket » 2nd T20I: Chop and change on cards as India look for turnaround

2nd T20I: Chop and change on cards as India look for turnaround

November 22, 2018 14:32 IST

 KL Rahul walks back after dismissing Adam Zampa on Wednesday. Rahul made just 13 in the first T20I

IMAGE: KL Rahul walks back after dismissing Adam Zampa on Wednesday. Rahul made just 13 in the first T20I. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Stung by a narrow loss in the opening encounter, India will like to reassess their playing combination while aiming for a swift turn-around when they take on Australia in the second T20I in Melbourne on Friday.

The hosts took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, which comprise three back-to-back matches in a span of five days.

 

Having won seven consecutive bilateral T20 series, Kohli and his men will certainly want to make it eight in a row and for that they may be forced to rejig both their batting and bowling combinations.

Bidding for an eighth victory on the bounce now doesn't seem as straightforward a proposition as it looked earlier with the hosts ready to come all guns blazing after their all-round show in the first game.

The Indian batting line-up could see some change in light of KL Rahul's patchy form. Since scoring 101 not out in the first T20I against England at Manchester, Rahul hasn't been able to cross the 30-run mark in next six matches.

The team management has persisted with him at number three, benched Manish Pandey and the skipper demoting himself to number four.

Consistency is the need of the hour from Rahul, especially considering that he is also set to be a part of India's top-order in the ensuing Test series.

Krunal Pandya went wicketless in the first T201 at the Gabba in Brisbane 

IMAGE: Krunal Pandya went wicketless in the first T201 at the Gabba in Brisbane. Photograph: Albert Perez/Getty Images

The team management could also be tempted to have a re-look at the bowling attack.

On a grassy surface, Krunal Pandya was plundered for 55 runs in his four wicketless overs and was hit for as many as half a dozen sixes.

If the MCG is also of Gabba's nature, Kohli might be tempted to bring in leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who boasts of a brilliant wicket-taking record in T20Is.

Even then, it remains to be seen if the team management rings in any changes after such a close defeat, especially when the balance is disturbed.

Leaving Pandya out would leave them a batsman short and Kohli might not be keen on taking that gamble. The loss, however narrow, has indeed cast such minute doubts on the Indian team's strategic preparations in a format, which they have dominated since July 2017.

In the lead-up to the first match, skipper Kohli had spoken about the need to cut down on mistakes and regaining an upper hand at crucial junctures of a game.

At Brisbane, the 'Men in Blue' were found slacking in the field and it proved to be the ultimate difference in a seesawing game.

Even Kohli himself was guilty of some poor fielding on at least two occasions, dropping counterpart Aaron Finch in the fourth over and later misfielding in the deep.

Adam Zampa celebrates after taking the wicket of Virat Kohli 

IMAGE: Adam Zampa picked two wickets in a miserly spell in the first T20I. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Australia boasts of bigger grounds than in India, with bigger boundaries of course, and the MCG will prove to be another humongous challenge in that regard.

The task is cut out for the team management to work on fielding angles to elevate their efforts in the second T20I.

A short turn-around time during this series, doesn't help fielding coach R Sridhar in working with the players at the MCG.

Any improvements in the field will have to be drilled in theoretically in the dressing room. And thus India will also seek to look at other areas where improvements can be made.

The ploy to introduce Adam Zampa as the lone spinner worked wonders for Australia and with an intense fielding effort, Australia were able to make a winning difference.

Things seem very different in the hosts' camp all of a sudden, when they were simply considered second best to the Men in Blue across all departments less than 48 hours ago.

Melbourne is experiencing a stormy spell in the latter half of this week, so there is a slight chance that the second T20I could also be rain-affected.

Teams:

India: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rishabh Pant, Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed, Washington Sundar.

Australia: Aaron Finch (capt), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Ben McDermott, Glenn Maxwell, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.

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