A masterful 85 from Indian skipper Rohit Sharma in his 100th T20 international saw India thrash Bangladesh by 8 wickets and level the three match series in Rajkot on Thursday. There were fears that this game might be washed out by the cyclone near the Gujarat coast, but thankfully for both the fans and the players, the rain stayed away, and we had an uninterrupted evening of play.
Here are our talking points from yesterday’s fixture.
1 Bangladesh’s batsmen fail to kick on
Four of Bangladesh’s top five batsmen scored 29 or more- all at better than a run a ball, but were unable to convert their starts into something big. The pitch was a good one for batting, with 170 being the par score in IPL games at the venue, but the Tigers were only able to make 153 on it.
2 Another eventful day for Rishabh Pant
Pant thought he had Liton Das stumped early in the latter’s innings, but he had collected the balls in front of the stumps, which made the third umpire disallow the stumping. Das was then given another reprieve when Rohit Sharma dropped a skier. He was eventually dismissed in a bizarre manner, going for a non-existent single without noticing that the ball had fallen just in front of him.
Pant ran down the wickets and attempted a direct hit to run him out. Had he missed his direct attempt (Washington Sundar was there to collect the throw- a safer option with Das way out of his ground), it would’ve meant another life for the Bangladesh opener.
3 Chahal key again
He was India’s best bowler in the first T20, and Yuzvendra Chahal was again in fine form in Rajkot. His twin strikes in the 13th over- getting both Delhi match winner Mushiqur Rahim and Soumya Sarkar turned the game on its head. Bangladesh were 97/2 in the 12th over and looking good for 170 odd, but never quite recovered from that double blow, and eventually stumbled to 153 in their quota of 20 overs.
Chahal had Rahim dropped by Krunal Pandya at a crucial juncture in the Delhi game, but the MI all rounder made amends for it by holding on this time.
4 Another disappointing outing for Khaleel Ahmed
The left arm pacer finished the Delhi game by conceding four fours in as many deliveries, and was hit for three consecutive boundaries to start off here in Rajkot. India have been desperately searching for a left armer to add variety to their attack, which explains their persistence with Khaleel, but the Tonk born star’s returns haven’t been the best- he went for 44 runs here on a day none of the other bowlers went for over 7 an over.
5 Interesting decider in Nagpur
This is perhaps just what the organisers would’ve wanted- 1-1 after the first two games, and a winner takes all in the third one in Nagpur. Given that title deciders between the two teams in this format have served up some thrillers in the recent past, we could be in for another great game on Sunday.