5 positives Team India can take from Nidahas Trophy 2018 

Rohit Sharma led a young team to the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka
Rohit Sharma led a young team to the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka

After losing the first match of the Nidahas Trophy 2018 to hosts Sri Lanka, the Indian Cricket Team played an aggressive brand of cricket to win 3 back-to-back matches and seal its spot for the final of the tournament. Therein, the Men in Blue completed a thrilling last-ball finish and beat Bangladesh by 4 wickets to lift the glorious trophy.

The national selectors decided to rest few key players for this tri-series - MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Jasprit Bumrah. They gave a few national call-ups to youngsters who had demonstrated their potential in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in the domestic season.

Most of these youngsters grabbed this chance and put in some good performances through the length of the series.

It was a good tournament for Team India, where they won 4 out of the 5 matches they played. Keeping 2019 World Cup in mind, the team management checked the bench strength of the team so as to ensure the quality of its backup in case of any injuries to regular players.

Here we look at the 5 positives they can take from the Nidahas Trophy 2018:

#5 Washington Sundar's bowling in the powerplay:

Washington Sundar bowled really well in the first six overs

Washington Sundar played for India in the Under 19 World Cup which was held in 2016. He made his first-class debut for Tamil Nadu against Mumbai in 2016 and performed well in the domestic circuit, scoring 532 runs in 12 matches with a best score of 159.

Before coming into this tournament, Sundar had only played one T20I match for India, which was against Sri Lanka in December 2017. In this tri-series, the young lad was trusted by Rohit Sharma in the powerplay overs.

Sundar surprised everyone with his stump-to-stump bowling. In the powerplay overs, he did not allow the opposition to score runs with ease. The youngster put pressure on experienced international batsmen by not only restricting the run-flow, but also picking up crucial wickets at regular intervals.

Overall, he took 8 wickets in the powerplay overs that he bowled in the five matches and went for an economy rate of less than six. Despite playing on his first tour outside India, Sundar did not look overwhelmed and relished the challenge of bowling in the first six overs.

His best figures of the series were 3/22, which came against Bangladesh on March 14. He also won his first Man of the Series award on the tour.

He has a strong chance of being selected in the Indian T20I squad that will tour England later this year.

#2 Manish Pandey in the middle order

Manish Pandey made some valuable contributions in the tri-series

Before coming into this tournament, Manish Pandey showed glimpses of his batting talent in the 3 matches of the T20I series against South Africa last month, where he scored 121 runs in with a best score of 79.

He had an opportunity to showcase his batting pedigree once again in the Nidahas Trophy, and did decently well in the series, where he came in at Number 4 and scored a total 134 runs.

He played with positive intent and bailed his team out of tough situations on multiple occasions. In the tournament, the right-hander remained unbeaten twice, with knocks of 27 off 19 against Bangladesh and 42 off 31 against Sri Lanka.

In the final against Bangladesh, he struggled to time the ball well, but still managed to make 28 off 27 balls. If he continues to bat consistently, he has a strong chance of cementing his place in the Indian ODI as well as T20I squads.

#3 Yuzvendra Chahal's consistency

Chahal is one of the mainstays of the Indian bowling unit

Yuzvendra Chahal had a great ODI series against South Africa last month. With Kuldeep Yadav, the leg-spinner created havoc in the Rainbow Nation, where the duo picked up 33 wickets in 6 matches and helped India clinch the series by a 5-1 margin. In the T20I series against the same opposition, Chahal could only pick up one wicket in two games and was dropped for the third match.

In the Nidahas Trophy, Chahal made a substantial impact as a lead spinner of the team. On a couple of occasions, he bowled in the powerplay overs and picked important wickets at crucial junctures of the games. The wrist-spinner bowled with control and precision, and restricted the opposition from hitting big shots.

His best figures came against in the final of the series, where he picked 3 wickets, giving away just 18 runs.The way Chahal is performing in limited overs format, he might as well become the go-to bowler for Virat Kohli in the ICC World Cup 2019.

#4 Healthy competition between Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat

Shardul Thakur was impressive in the tournament

Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat were the lead pace options for India in this particular series, where they replaced the seam-bowling duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.

In the T20I series against South Africa last month, Unadkat could pick up just 3 wickets in 2 games and was smashed all over the park by the Proteas batsmen.

Thakur made his debut in the second match of that series and impressed with his pace in the game.

In Sri Lanka, Unadkat bowled well in patches, scalping seven wickets in four games. The 26-year-old had figures of 2/33 in his 4-over spell in the final of the tournament. He still needs to work on his variations to be in contention for the World Cup in England next year.

Thakur was also a little inconsistent, but showed his promise in bits and pieces through the series. He scalped a total of 6 wickets, with best figures of 4/27 from 4 overs against Sri Lanka.

Both the seamers did a decent job in the tri-series and have a considerable chance to make it to the World Cup squad if they continue to improve, more so in terms of their line and length.

#5 Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan leading the charge

The Indian openers are slowly getting back to their consistent best

The combination of Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan is one of the most dangerous opening partnerships in T20I cricket. However, the duo could not build big partnerships in the 3-match T20I series against South Africa last month.

There was a significant improvement in their combined performance in the tri-series, though. Both Indian batsmen had decent starts, but failed to convert them into big scores.

Their best partnership of the tournament came against Bangladesh in the fifth game of the tournament, where they put up 70 runs together.

Before this series, Sharma had struggled massively on the South African tour. He managed to make one century in ODI series but could score just 32 runs in the three T20 games that followed.

In the first 3 matches of the Nidahas Trophy, the stand-in skipper could score just 28 runs. It seemed like his run of bad form was extending itself yet again.

However, he started coming into his own deeper into the series, and scored 89 off 61 deliveries in India's second encounter against Bangladesh. In the final, the right-handed batsman played a captain’s knock in the second innings of the game, where he scored 56 vital runs for his team.

Overall, he notched up 173 runs from 5 matches and smashed 9 sixes in the tournament.

Dhawan continued his impressive run from South Africa in the Nidahas trophy. The stylish left-hander scored 198 runs in 5 matches and was the third highest run-scorer of the tournament. He smashed 2 half-centuries with a best score of 90 and proved why he still is India's best bet at the top of the order in LOIs.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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