A clinical New Zealand outfit got the better of Team India by 21 runs in the first T20I at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi on Friday, January 27. The Men in Blue bowled first in the game after winning the toss. They conceded 176/6 in their 20 overs as Daryl Mitchell and Devon Conway struck impressive half-centuries.
The hosts would have been confident of chasing down the target as they were expecting dew in the second half. It was one of the main reasons why they chose to bowl first. However, to their surprise, there wasn’t much dew. The pitch continued to offer turn in the second half as well, with Mitchell Santner (2/11) and Michael Bracewell (2/31) coming up with match-defining performances.
Following the loss in Ranchi, the second T20I in Lucknow on Sunday becomes a must-win match for Team India. A few players from the Men in Blue will be under pressure heading into the second game. We look at three such names.
#1 Arshdeep Singh
Left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh was Team India’s breakout star in the T20I format for India in 2022. He played 21 matches, claiming 33 wickets at an average of 18.12 and an economy rate of 8.17. Arshdeep was also the team’s standout performer with the ball at the T20 World Cup in Australia. Playing in his maiden ICC event, he lifted his game in Jasprit Bumrah’s absence and delivered the goods, defying his lack of big-stage experience.
Even since returning from a short break, though, the 23-year-old has struggled for rhythm. His issues with over-stepping are proving to be a massive headache for Team India. In the second T20I against Sri Lanka in Pune earlier this month, he bowled the second over of the innings, in which he sent down three no-balls in a row. Arshdeep ended up conceding 19 runs in the over, giving Sri Lanka early momentum in their innings.
The left-arm pacer bowled two more no-balls in the 19th over as well and ended up conceding 18 runs. Arshdeep’s transgressions cost Team India heavily as Sri Lanka went on to post a 200-plus score on the board and ended up winning the contest by 16 runs.
Unfortunately, for India, Arshdeep did not learn from his mistakes and bowled a no-ball in the last over of New Zealand’s innings in the Ranchi T20I. It was the first ball of the over and Mitchell smacked the delivery for a maximum. The free hit also went over the ropes as New Zealand’s innings gained massive momentum.
The next two deliveries were also hit for six and four respectively as 27 runs came off the last over. It was a game-changing over for sure as Team India went down in the contest by 21 runs.
Arshdeep has been a great find for the Men in Blue without a doubt. But he needs to uproot the no-ball problem from his system to be effective on a consistent basis.
#2 Ishan Kishan
Not too long ago, Ishan Kishan was being hailed for smacking the fastest double hundred in men’s ODI cricket. He clobbered 210 off 131 balls against Bangladesh in Chattogram on December 10. However, he has not been in great touch lately.
Speaking specifically of his T20I numbers, Kishan hasn’t scored a half-century in his 12 innings in the format. Since his 54 against South Africa in Visakhapatnam on June 14, 2022, he has registered a highest score of 37, which came against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on January 3.
In his last three T20I knocks, he hasn’t even reached three figures, having been dismissed for two, one, and four, respectively. Looking at his overall T20I numbers since his last half-century in the format, Kishan has scored only 180 runs in 12 innings at an average of 15.
Considering that Prithvi Shaw is waiting in the wings for Team India, one is bound to ask the big question - how big a rope is big enough for Kishan?
#3 Deepak Hooda
Team India’s batting all-rounder Deepak Hooda should consider himself extremely lucky to have been picked in the squad for the T20Is against Sri Lanka and New Zealand. His overall numbers in the format are not that bad - 366 runs in 19 matches at an average of 30.50 and a strike rate of 147.58, with one century.
A further breakdown of his stats will, however, give us a fairer picture of his performance or the lack of it. Since his century against Ireland in Dublin (Malahide) on June 28, 2022, Hooda has notched up a highest score of 41* in 13 innings. He was the Player of the Match for his unbeaten 41 off 23 balls, which came against Sri Lanka in the first T20I at the Wankhede Stadium at the start of this month. In his subsequent three visits to the crease, he has scored nine, four, and 10.
If we take a closer look at his T20I stats since his hundred, he has scored only 194 runs in 13 innings at a poor average of 19.40 and a strike rate of 132.87. The numbers also include two consecutive ducks.
One of the reasons he has been given a longer run is because he offers the option of part-time off-spin. But barring a spell of 4/10 against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui in November 2022, which included three lower-order wickets, Hooda hasn’t done much of note for Team India in the bowling department either.
Also Read: 3 reasons why Team India must play Jitesh Sharma in the 2nd and 3rd T20Is against New Zealand
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