Hyderabad: India will be hoping their key bowlers, Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal, are back to their best when the hosts take on Australia in the series-deciding third T20 International here on Sunday.
India were able to plug the gaps in Nagpur to level the three-match series with a comprehensive win in the eight-over-a-side contest. But they will need their bowlers, especially Harshal and Chahal, to overcome their struggles ahead of the T20 World Cup.
India had got off to an electric start in the last game with Axar Patel bowling a fiery two-over spell that included a couple of wickets but they are struggling at the back end of the innings.
While Jasprit Bumrah is sure to carry the responsibility, senior seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s poor show at the death overs is a real concern. He struggled in the Asia Cup and in the opener against Australia.
He was dropped for the second T20, perhaps, because skipper Rohit Sharma felt he needed only four bowlers for the eight overs but Bhuvneshwar’s form is worrisome.
Death overs specialist Harshal, who is returning from an injury, also hasn’t inspired confidence and perhaps needs a couple of matches more to find his rhythm.
The right-arm medium pacer, who relies on his variations to be effective, has conceded 81 runs in his six overs at an economy rate of 13.50 and is the most expensive bowler in the series. He has struggled to get his lengths right, remaining wicketless.
India rely on their spinners in the middle overs and while Axar has been a big positive, Chahal has faltered. He went for a lot of runs in the Asia Cup and the trend has continued against Australia.
India will, however, breathe a sigh of relief as Bumrah was his vintage best, showing no signs of rust after returning from his back injury.
In the batting department, the famed top order comprising Rohit, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli needs to be more consistent. The trio has not fired in unison for a while.
Suryakumar Yadav has also been patchy in the past few games with Hardik Pandya churning out match-winning performances.
Another chink in the Indian batters’ armour is leg spin. They have continued to struggle against leggies and Adam Zampa has utilised this weakness well.
Dinesh Karthik, who played his role of a finisher to perfection in the previous game, is likely to get more game time.