India had a lot of context heading into their first warmup match of the T20 World Cup 2022. They squared off against the home side, Australia at the Gabba, Brisbane. Gabba is known for its large outfield. There is always something in it for the bowlers while batters can trust the length.
India couldn’t have asked for a more Australian venue to get acclimatized to ahead of the mega event. The fact that they played defending champions Australia added a lot of muscle to this game.
We look at Key takeaways for India from the game:
#1 The form of KL Rahul
KL Rahul asserted his presence in the very first over with a scorching drive off Mitchell Starc. He was the aggressor in the powerplay as India got off to a strong start without losing a wicket. There were a lot of speculations surrounding his place in the XI. Rahul’s knock in this game would have silenced all detractors.
He made run-making look so easy on a surface where Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli struggled. It shows the class Rahul is made up of. He will open alongside Sharma come the opener against Pakistan on 23 October.
#2 The stutter between overs 7-10
India has consciously decided to maintain the tempo in the middle overs. But despite their intentions, the team always struggles to find the big over during the phase between 7-10. It is often the 11th over when the team finds the extra gear to go big. The team needs to identify that every ball is an event in T20 cricket. They shouldn’t be losing out on momentum post the powerplay.
#3 Death-overs hitting
Finding boundaries at will is a challenge on big Australian grounds. It becomes even more difficult for new batters to strike big from ball one. India needs to address this weakness as the team often loses a few soft wickets in the overs leading to the end. The team either lacks a strong finisher or an able ally to power the side to an above-par score.
#4 Indian powerplay bowling
If there isn’t swing on offer (which might be the case in all Australian venues) Indian new ball bowlers appear toothless. All the pace bowlers who operated with the new ball hardly troubled the batsmen. If India doesn’t strike with the new ball then their spinners in the middle overs will be rendered harmless. Australian conditions help seam bowlers. The only one among this battery is the one who bowled the final over.
#5 Axar-Ashwin or Axar-Chahal?
India wisely decided against using Axar Patel who had earlier troubled the Aussies in the recent series. It was a shootout between Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal. Ashwin bowled an over in the powerplay and one at the death. Despite this, he conceded just 31 runs off his 4 overs though he failed to pick a single wicket.
Chahal picked 1 wicket but conceded 28 runs off just 3 overs. If Axar is already zeroed in as the first spinner, India can go in with Ashwin as he offers more than just 4 overs of middle-overs bowling.
#6 The return of the replacement
It was a sight that every Indian fan wanted to witness. In a masterstroke of a call, Rohit Sharma summoned Mohammad Shami to deliver the final over. Australia needed 11 runs to win with 4 wickets in hand. The odds were in their favour. But Shami bowled an outstanding last over to pick 3 wickets and assist in a runout.
Despite the sample size being just 6 balls, Shami showed that the management hadn’t erred in picking him as Jasprit Bumrah’s replacement. He is India’s finest seam bowler. The team will need him with the new ball too in the World Cup!