The India-West Indies T20I series couldn’t have started on a more whirlwind note than it did at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. On a track where the ball was coming as straight as a gun-barrel, batsmen from both sides feasted on the hapless bowlers as more than 400 runs were racked up in less than 40 overs.
In the end, it was Virat Kohli‘s unbeaten 94 off 50 balls that sealed the deal for the Men in Blue as they went on to chase their highest total in the first T20I. The caravan now moves to Thiruvananthapuram where Kieron Pollard’s West Indies will hope to get one back and enforce a decider in the three-match series.
Here we bring you India’s predicted XI for the second T20I:
Openers- Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul
With Shikhar Dhawan injured, KL Rahul got a chance to play at his preferred position- the opening slot. And, didn’t he make full use of the opportunity on offer? The Karnataka opener continued with his imperious form and went on to notch up his second consecutive half-century in T20Is.
Rohit Sharma, on the other end, didn’t have a game to remember. After being hit by a Sheldon Cottrell bouncer, Rohit proceeded to hit spinner Khary Pierre out of the ground but managed to pick the long-on fielder and the champion batsman will be looking to make amends when he strolls out to bat in the second T20I.
Middle-Order- Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk)
The first T20I was all about the Indian captain. From his initial struggles where he himself admitted that he was trying to hit the ball hard to gradually finding himself into the groove to unleashing the ‘chase-master’ mode to giving the notebook celebration to Kesrick Williams to gobsmacking everyone with his flicks, overdrives, and of-course that lofted six over long-off off Jason Holder, the Indian captain was in full mode in the first match.
Apart from steering India to their highest successful run-chase in T20Is, Kohli also notched up his highest individual score of 94*, and considering the form and intensity he displayed in Hyderabad, things are looking ominous for the visitors.
With Virat Kohli taking centre stage and Rishabh Pant coming in at No.4, Shreyas Iyer didn’t have much to do in Hyderabad and was caught & bowled by Kieron Pollard for a six-ball-four. He will be looking for a better show in Thiruvananthapuram. Rishabh Pant, on the other hand, stroked a few lusty blows; one that helped in relieving some of the pressure off Virat Kohli before eventually perishing for the cause.
All-rounders- Washington Sundar, Shivam Dube & Ravindra Jadeja
Amidst all the euphoria around Kohli’s sensational innings and the resultant Indian win, one must not forget that the Indian bowlers did not have a particularly good day at the office. Once again, Kohli opted to go with bowling all-rounders in place of a specialist leg-spinner in Kuldeep Yadav.
Washington Sundar was taken to the cleaners by Evin Lewis and consequently could not complete his full quota. Ravindra Jadeja, on the other hand, bowled brilliantly, claiming the important wicket of Brandon King and gave away just 30 runs in his 4 overs. This begs the question as to whether India should play one of the two off-spinning all-rounders and reunite the wrist-spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.
However, going by the current mindset of the team management, it looks unlikely that they’ll go down that road. Shivam Dube, on the other hand, bowled just one over where he went for 13 runs. The all-rounder will hope for a better show if he gets the chance to bowl in the second T20I.
Bowlers- Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar & Deepak Chahar
One of the unsung heroes of the first game was Yuzvendra Chahal. Chahal’s spell of 2/36 where he claimed crucial wickets of Shimron Hetmayer and Kieron Pollard in one over was the difference between India chasing 230-240 than what they eventually ended up doing.
Deepak Chahar started off from where he left against Bangladesh when he claimed Lendl Simmons with an outswinger. But the party ended soon enough as he was walloped to all corners of the ground, conceding 56 in four overs. His mentor and comeback man, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, also did not have a fruitful return as he went wicketless in his four-over conceding 36. The duo will hope for better returns in the second T20I.
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