Just minutes after Australia chased a record-breaking chase against India in Mohali, there was a huge outcry on social media. It may be the first place for fans and the last place for players. The scream had a familiar tone, it had names that were repeated, surrounded by swear words.
India lost a T20I to Australia in a three-game bilateral series. Imagine if that would set off a storm of social media absurdity. But we live in such times where being an Indian cricketer’s job means being mistreated with or without good performances. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was enjoying his best year ever in T20Is with 31 wickets, was criticized.
On the Australian side there was deep joy. Cameron Green, who was playing his second T20I, played in a way that was not expected. Combine that with the skill of Matthew Wade and the yet to be unleashed Tim David. The Australian fans rejoiced the morning after the clash.
The show is now moving to Nagpur, a venue that last hosted an international game in 2019. And India is keen to turn things around after a lackluster show at Mohali.
What is Bhuvneshwar Kumar doing in the lineup?
There are few things that beat three bad overs in three losses. We’re talking about a 32-year-old pacer who has taken 31 wickets in the year, and yet it’s all about dropping him. Just a few months ago, the Meerut-born Pacer was considered one of the best white-ball bowlers to have ever bowled for India. But just two weeks into cricket action, he’s seen as a liability here.
Much of this must amount to Bhuvneshwar’s agony. Since the start of the Asian Cup, India has been concerned about the death toll of the right-arm sailor (10.8 RPO). But the calls to remove him from the setup for Deepak Chahar could be arbitrary. Bhuvneshwar’s strength still lies in bowling with the new ball, which dissects opponents early.
In India’s last three T20I games, Bhuvneshwar has numbers from 0-63 on death. Chahar’s death figures are better, but the sample size is not large enough to make comparisons with Bhuvneshwar. India still needs Bhuvneshwar in full force now more than ever.
Axar Patel is an ace when others fail
In the absence of Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel has perhaps become one of the most important cogs in this Indian setup. His selection ahead of Rishabh Pant as the only left-hander in the active XI shows how important he is to the team’s balance. Axar’s impact with the bat was minimal, probably not enough to win eyeballs. But his approach would certainly please management.
Also Read: Axar Patel Stands Amid Australian Carnage in Mohali
On his five-ball stay at circle, the left-hander showed he wasn’t afraid to attack from ball one. He might be someone India could use as a pinch hitter against Adam Zampa’s legspin in the mid-overs. While India didn’t need that in Mohali, in Vidarbha they were able to use its clout for the tilt.
On the bowling front, Axar won on a night when most bowlers suffered. He ended up with numbers 3-17 at a savings rate of 4.25, with the average savings rate in Mohali being close to 11.5. The 28-year-old is only pleading even more strongly for his regular participation in the T20 World Cup Down Under. Its ability to take full advantage of the non-rotating conditions is something that India could greatly benefit from.
India must be wary of Australia’s killer approach
Australia has struggled to adapt to the T20 pace in recent years, showing how it’s faring in the global event. But since 2021, they’ve understood the need to play a high-intensity game that’s sustainable in the shortest format. While Steve Smith is still in the playing XI, the Kangaroos aren’t afraid to just use him as a bad luck hitter.
But in the absence of three top stars – David Warner, Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis – Green and Smith, who were active in emergency services during the ODI home series against New Zealand, stepped in. Green made the headline in his first professional match as an opener with a 30-ball 61, smashing eight boundaries and four sixes.
Smith, who tends to be a slow starter, played an important 24-ball 35. Although their star Glenn Maxwell failed (1), Australia found an approach so devastating to destroy the Indian bowling entity that it took all 3-4 a limit achieved deliveries.
Additionally, the innings run rate has never dropped in an alarming way, showing how far the T20 world champions have come to understand the basics of the format.
Team Combinations and Games XI
Australia would be more than happy with the way they fought in Mohali so expect an unchanged starting XI.
Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), Cameron Green, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Josh Inglis, Tim David, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
On the other hand, Suryakumar Yadav confirmed in the pre-match press conference that Jasprit Bumrah is fit enough to take the field in the second T20I. In that case, Umesh Yadav will most likely be benched. Can we see Rishabh Pant? That’s another talking point from the squad at Mohali.
India XI: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal