A thumping victory in the India v Sri Lanka match at Dhaka has taken MS Dhoni’s team sauntering into the finals of the Asia Cup 2016. Barring a couple of breezy knocks from the lower middle order, the islanders were below-par in their batting once again, and could manage just a paltry 138/9 in 20 overs. Nuwan Kulasekara struck early with the ball and took out both the Indian openers, but Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh forged a match winning 51 run stand for the 4th wicket to take India home. This defeat has seriously jeopardized Sri Lanka’s chances of reaching the final, as they shall now have to rely on numerous uncontrollable factors for their progress.
Has Ravindra Jadeja become an appendage?
A month ago, in Australia, Jadeja looked indispensable to the team. Now, with green tracks on offer, his left arm spin does not look remotely as menacing as it ought to. Hardik Pandya’s meteoric rise as an all rounder has also put pressure on Jadeja to maintain his slot in the team, given the fact that the southpaw’s batting prowess has gone down considerably in recent times. Notwithstanding his exceptional fielding abilities, the team management might consider giving Pawan Negi some exposure, in the place of Jadeja, against UAE tomorrow. Negi is known to be a clean striker of the ball, and can also bowl useful left arm spin. With the World T20 coming up, it would be wise to keep a number of options open so as to ensure maximum flexibility against all kinds of opposition.
Horses for courses, and Shikhar Dhawan!
Despite the flamboyance we usually associate with Shikhar Dhawan, it can be clearly deciphered that he is not the right man for green tracks. In the 8 T20s that he has played in 2016, Dhawan has registered a 30+ score only thrice. The three venues were Melbourne, Ranchi and Visakhapatnam – all of which were flat tracks and batting paradises. On the three greenish wickets, presented at Dhaka and Pune, Dhawan has an aggregate of just 12 runs! Not the horse for the green course then! Keeping this in mind, and simultaneously exploring the possibility of facing yet another assault from the Pakistan fast bowlers in the final of this tournament, it might be prudent to use Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order, atleast for the rest of the tournament. Rahane has a proven track record of batting well in South Africa, Australia and England, making his credentials of handling swing bowling more concrete than that of Dhawan.