Bhuvneshwar Kumar has come back in form and proved why he is still the best bet in the bowling line-up.
If recent performances of the Indian players are anything to go by, especially after registering back to back wins against Hong Kong, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the team might be on the cusp of an incredible series win even as the other Asian giants seems to lack the quality and consistency to topple the Indian players. Sunday’s’s game will be crucial for the Pakistani side, which desperately needs to up their ante so as not to lose their morale before making their way to the finals.
Despite pulling off a nerve-wracking win against the ‘Dark Horse’ Afghanistan on Friday, Pakistan have a wide range of issues that need to be addressed before they play a belligerent Indian side in the Super Four match Sunday. The Green Brigade dropped as many as four catches in the field. Also, the batting and bowling needs to click together if the team is eyeing the tournament’s winning cup.
For India, it’s been a topsy-turvy journey for the past one month after losing ODI series to England followed by a crushing defeat against them in the Test series. And as they say, when it rains, it pours! The team has somehow discovered the gold mine as they led their side to victory three times on the trot in the tournament so far.
It’s an absolute delight to see the Indian top order batsmen playing so well even without their talismanic batsman Virat Kohli. When Rohit Sharma is on the song, it seems no boundary in the world is long enough for him. At times, once can actually feel that he sees the ball a second earlier and has more time to take in information about the ball’s movement at the bounce point. The stand-in skipper has so far amassed 158 runs from three innings while his partner Shikhar Dhawan, too, looks in fine touch, contributing 213 runs in as many innings.
The middle order needs to get their act together because they have not yet been tested much. Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik, despite decent performances, have not done enough and this will be another opportunity for the duo. The number four conundrum has been haunting the team like a thorn in the flesh but MS Dhoni’s knock of 33 off 37 balls against Bangladesh on Friday seems to have given some respite to the team. Kedar Jadhav has so far proven himself an asset to the team, contributing both with bat and bowl.
What comes as a surprise, for the first time, is their bowling department. The team seems to be striking a fine balance of spinners and fast bowlers. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has come back in form and proved why he is still the best bet in the bowling line-up. He has been economical owing to his tight line and lengths, and scalped three wickets against both Bangladesh and Pakistan. Bumrah has taken three against the former and two against the latter.
Despite not getting wickets, spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal did not leak runs and managed to maintain pressure in the middle overs. It will be a series to remember for Ravindra Jadeja, who replaced Hardik Pandya, only to make a strong comeback in the ODI unit. Jadeja plucked four Bangladeshi wickets, leaking only 29 runs in his quota of 10 overs.
In the Pakistan side, Shoaib Malik is the only shining light in an abysmal battling line-up. His unbeaten 51 off 43 balls to help Pakistan to a three-wicket victory over Afghanistan, and his knock against India is a testimony to his good form in the series. Opener Fakhar Zaman has so far failed to give his team a good start. Other batters also need to up their game if they are to fancy their chances against a much superior Indian team.
Another cause of concern for the Pakistan side will be the lack of fire power in bowling line-up. Mohammad Amir has not been able to give performances he is known for. The likes of Hasan Ali and Usman Khan will have to step up their game if their team is to do well.