While Mushfiqur Rahim and Bangladesh deserve a lot of credit for their first win in nine attempts against India in Twenty20 Internationals, there are plenty of lessons that the hosts can acquire from their second successive loss in this format.
Especially when batting first on tacky surfaces like in New Delhi against Bangladesh and in Bengaluru against South Africa in September, it is important to pace the innings properly. Equally, the set batsman must bat deep, into the 17th or 18th over for the team to post a competitive total. Neither happened in India’s case.
While all this is groundwork with the Twenty20 World Cup in mind, the younger players in the side must not look at every match as an audition for the main event. That will inevitably lead to tentativeness and a veering away from the natural game that has served them well and brought them to this level in the first place. There were glimpses of brilliance from K.L. Rahul and Shreyas Iyer but they didn’t last long enough. Shikhar Dhawan was just about shedding off a shaky start when he was run out after a mix-up with Rishabh Pant.
I was impressed with the heart and skill showed by Aminul Islam, the young leggie. He was not afraid to flight the ball on a responsive surface and was rewarded with the important scalps of Rahul and Shreyas. Indeed, India would not have reached 148 if it was not for the heroics of Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar, who has worked very hard on his T20 batting and is reaping the rewards.
The momentum was with India at the break and they started well with the ball, but there were thwarted by a masterclass from Mushfiqur. In Shakib Al Hasan’s absence, he was always going to be the key man and he showed how to bat on the tricky pitch by playing strokes mainly behind square. To the spinners, he played either the conventional or the reverse sweep while to the quicks, he went deep into the crease and played the ball late.
Admittedly, he was lucky to be dropped once by Krunal Pandya and also in the second over of Chahal when India didn’t review leg before the decision, but that was no more than he deserved.
Yuzvendra Chahal was India’s best bowler on his T20 return, but Mushfiqur settled the issue by getting into Khaleel Ahmed’s head in the 19th over with four successive boundaries. Bangladesh has thrown the gauntlet down and it is up to India to respond going into the second match in Rajkot.