A couple of days ago, West Indies dug deep into their hitting reserves to unfurl a plethora of breath-taking shots as they ransacked a target of 171 with 9 balls to spare, despite many opining that the Indians got gotten themselves to a par-score.
Through the course of that encounter, a few of India’s T20I frailties were brought to light, with none occupying the captain and the team management as much as the side’s inability to defend another total.
Apart from the above, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar also failed to fulfil their roles at the start and at the death as the visitors’ batsmen made merry.
And, though there were a few positives, namely Shivam Dube’s breezy fifty and Washington Sundar’s smart brand of spin bowling, the encounter at Thiruvananthapuram posed more questions than answers.
On the 11 December, the rubber would proceed towards its finale with the Wankhede Stadium acting as the stage for a 3rd consecutive Indian series victory over the West Indies or the platform for the tourists to repeat their 2016 heroics and underline their credentials in the shortest format.
Thus, with so much at stake, it is imperative that India get their tactics and team selection spot on, especially against a side high on confidence. And, through the lens of this article, we would chalk out three tweaks the hosts need to make for the game in Mumbai.
Without further ado, here is a look at them.
#3 Open the bowling with Washington Sundar
In both contests so far, India haven’t managed to contain the effervescent Evin Lewis, with the opener forging important partnerships at the top and injecting the innings with the requisite impetus.
The left-hander has seemed equipped to thwart whatever the Indians have thrown at him and has even looked much more comfortable and sound against swing bowling, an aspect that has led to his downfall previously.
However, the only blemish for Lewis so far has been his handling of Washington Sundar. Though the off-spinner was carted around the park in his opening couple of overs in Hyderabad, the lanky lad from Tamil Nadu hit back to trap the West Indian in front.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Washington learnt from his mistakes and bowled a fuller length, thereby causing Lewis all sorts of problems. The batsman was reluctant to get onto the front foot and tentatively kept prodding at deliveries outside the off-stump.
Thus, the time could be ripe for India to exploit that particular weakness and throw a spoke in the West Indians’ wheel at the outset.
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In addition, Lendl Simmons isn’t an assured starter against spin. And, while he has the shots to get on top of the bowler, his strike rotation against the slower bowlers leaves a lot to be desired, meaning that he might have to behave against character and attack instantly in order to keep the scoreboard ticking.
Hence, opening the bowling with Washington could be a ploy that pays massive dividends come Wednesday.