After improving the batting in recent times, the Indian team is now caught in the problem of poor bowling.
When Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma took charge of the T20I team, the main issue of the Indian team was their conservative batting. The Indian batsmen also took some time to improve in this area but somehow they were successful in performing as per the demand of the team. If India were to look at the positives from the last few matches, batting would be their strongest side.
However, after coming out of one problem, the Indian team is facing trouble in another area. In the last three defeats, the Indian team has been defeated while defending the target. In these three matches, India had to defend 54, 42 and 41 runs in the last four overs and all three matches did not fall in their lap. In all these three matches, the Indian team had batted well but the bowling is constantly emerging as a problem.
However, one thing was common in these three matches that Jasprit Bumrah was not present in the playing 11 and Bhuvneshwar Kumar spent 16, 14, and 19 runs respectively in the 19th over of each match. Not that India was making any strategic mistake by giving Bhuvneshwar the 19th over as Bhuvneshwar is the best bowler of the last overs in Bumrah’s absence.
From the beginning of 2020 till the beginning of this month, Bhuvneshwar has been the third best Indian death bowler in T20 cricket. Arshdeep Singh and Bumrah, the two best out of the three, were not playing this match.
It is always a little surprising that Bhuvneshwar has been consistently performing well in the last overs. Naturally, he doesn’t have enough quality to bowl in the final overs. They don’t have high speed. There is no left hand angle or awkward release. He has a lovely clean action. He rarely bowls at 140 kmph. It is his accuracy in planning and execution that has kept him in the game.
Bhuvneshwar would probably comfortably admit that he was not able to bowl with his plans in Mohali. Hitting the ball over the head of a fielder is one thing but getting hit by Matthew Wade over and over again in the same direction where there is no fielder is another and it will certainly make Bhuvneshwar sad. This was the first time in International T20 cricket that Bhuvneshwar had conceded more than 50 runs in his four overs. The Indian team will hope that Bhuvneshwar improves his bowling soon.
Harshal Patel, who was returning from injury, spent 49 runs in his four overs. Not only this, he spent 22 runs in the 18th over. Wade reads Herschel’s slow deliveries brilliantly and hits big shots at him. The pitch at Mohali was largely similar to that of the Australian pitches. There was good bounce on the pitch and the ball was never coming to a halt. The effectiveness of slow deliveries on such pitches is always a doubt. If the situation remains the same during the T20 World Cup, then what other options Harshal will have, it will be a matter of thinking.
Rohit said after the match, “I don’t think we bowled well. More than 200 is definitely a good score, and we missed a lot of chances in the field as well. Our batsmen put in a good effort but the bowling was pretty lacking,” Rohit said after the match. You can’t score 200 runs everyday. Hardik [Pandya] batted really well to get us to that score. We need to think a lot about our bowling before the next game.”
You have to be philosophical in T20s. Luck and toss play a big part in such a short format game. You can’t always judge yourself on the basis of results. One shot can lead to victory and defeat. However, the defeat that the Indian team got in the first match, it cannot compel you to move forward in the direction of philosophical thinking. The ease with which Australia chased down 55 runs in 24 balls was like a lesson that your bowling has no choice but to perform better on batting pitches