Former opening batter Aakash Chopra believes that the rain-curtailed second T20I between India and Australia in Nagpur on Friday, September 23, was staged for the fans rather than preparing for the T20 World Cup 2022. A brief spell of rain in the evening left the outfield wet, leaving the match to be contested with eight overs per side.
After electing to bowl first following a two-and-a-half hour delay in proceedings, Team India restricted Australia to 90-5. A captain's knock by Rohit Sharma (46* off 20) and a trademark Dinesh Karthik finish (10* off two) ensured the hosts won the contest by six wickets and with four balls to spare.
Despite the win, which leveled the three-match series at 1-1, India struggled on the bowling front.
Expressing concern over the form of Yuzvendra Chahal and Harshal Patel, Chopra said on his YouTube channel:
"Chahal's bowling is continuing to be a concern as he looked lackluster in this match as well. There is still no idea who will bowl in the death overs."
"This match was anyways not for learning or progress, it was just for entertaining the crowd."
Chahal was only given a solitary over in the game, with the leg-spinner conceding 12 runs with no wickets. Harshal's dismal form since his return from injury continued as he gave away 32 runs in two overs, including 19th off the final over.
"There is a prevailing opinion that the fewer balls Karthik faces, the better he plays" - Aakash Chopra
Australia managed to stage a late comeback in the penultimate over of the contest with the wicket of Hardik Pandya. While Rohit diffused the tension with a boundary off the final delivery, the hosts still needed nine runs off the final over.
Karthik finished the proceedings in a matter of just two deliveries, hitting Daniel Sams for a six and a four.
Claiming that some people believe the veteran wicketkeeper-batter performs at his best when he doesn't face a lot of deliveries, Chopra said:
"Rohit Sharma was hitting boundaries at will. I thought Pat Cummins won't play, he has not been bowling well of late. There is a prevailing opinion that the fewer balls Karthik faces, the better he plays. Now, I don't quite agree with this, but he came in, faced two deliveries, and sealed the chase off in style."
Karthik has specifically been reserved for the death overs by Team India, with lower-order batters like Axar Patel often being promoted ahead of him in the 12th or 13th overs.
The Men in Blue will face Australia in the third and final T20I at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday, September 25.
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