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Will Rahul be dropped for series decider?

By HARISH KOTIAN
March 19, 2021 18:01 IST
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Team India

IMAGE: Will India retain their winning combination for the series decider against England on Saturday? Photograph: BCCI
 

With a narrow eight run victory on Thursday, March 18, India bucked the trend of teams batting first at the N M stadium in Ahmedabad ending on the losing side to set up a series deciding T20I game on Saturday.

Will opener K L Rahul, in whom the team management has demonstrated strange faith despite multiple failures, make way for Ishan Kishan -- who was dropped from the fourth game on account of an injury apparently sustained fielding on the boundary in the third game -- at the top of the Indian innings?

Suryakumar Yadav, who had a memorable debut at No 3 scoring a quickfire 57 from 31 balls in game four, could then follow his Mumbai Indians team-mates Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan before Virat Kohli, who had a poor game on Thursday, comes in at No 4.

At 5 would come in Rishabh Pant and at no 6 Shreyas Iyer who slammed 37 from 18 balls in game four.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is clearly back to his best, both at the start and in the death overs.

Hardik Pandya's bowling too has proved to be a big bonus for India. He opened the bowling on Thursday and also sent down crucial overs at the death, registered impressive figures of 2/16 in four overs, which never really allowed England's batsmen to get off the hook.

It was good to see Hardik as an encouraging presence by Shardul Thakur and stand-in skipper Rohit's side as Thakur bowled the tense final over to Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan.

Leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, brought into the team in place of the faltering Yuzvendra Chahal, claimed the big wickets of Dawid Malan (14) and Jonny Bairstow (25) at crucial junctures in the middle overs.

Off-spinner Washington Sundar suffered at the hands of Ben Stokes and Bairstow as the duo nearly threatened to take the game away from India before Thakur's double strike in the 17th over sealed the game in India's favour.

Our team for Saturday's game:
Rohit Sharma
Ishan Kishan
Suryakumar Yadav
Virat Kohli
Rishabh Pant
Shreyas Iyer
Hardik Pandya
Shardul Thakur
Washington Sundar
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar
Rahul Chahar

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World Test Championship - 2021

World Test Championship - 2021