India’s win in the second T20 levelled the series, but it was not without some anxiety and pressure. What the win will do is to give the bowlers a bit more belief in themselves as they prepare for the slightly longer 50 overs a side version.
Bowlers are usually on a hiding to nothing in the ultra short format as the batsmen have the license to throw their bats at every ball. In such a scenario to keep cool and try and restrict the batsman is extremely tough. A wicket in this form is a real bonus and when it comes at a crucial time it can change the fortunes of the team.
India's bowlers were also lucky that they had a big total to defend and that is what eventually helped India to win. In the first game with so many batsmen in the ranks it looked as if they were all relaxed, knowing that even if one got out another was still there, but in cricket the pressure can swing back on and then it’s hard to get out of a tight situation.
Yuvraj ensured that India got to the total that they did and he had splendid support from skipper Dhoni, who was as always superb in running between the wickets. They had also got a good start from Gambhir and Rahane, though both would be disappointed that they got out when they did.
With Sehwag back for the 50 overs format the opening combo may change and Rahane with his present touch can drop down a place and allow the old reliable pair to open again. If Sehwag can curb himself at the start and say to himself that he will bat for at least 40 overs, then India should get a big score.
He has the great ability to make up for a slow start and all he needs as he gets older is to give himself some time to get used to the bounce and movement, and then open up his arsenal of strokes. Gambhir too will be desperate for a huge score if only because it is frustrating for a batsman to get a start, but not go on to a big score which is what’s happening to him.
Among the bowlers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar may have thought after the first T20 game, that international cricket is a breeze, but the second one would have shown him that the opposition does its homework and so he will have to keep looking at steeling himself for the days when the ball doesn’t swing as much and there is not much pace in the pitch.
Dinda showed great heart and if he can curb himself from trying to bowl quick in this form of the game and look for accuracy, he will be less expensive too.
Pakistan gave a spirited chase and their approach has been most positive. They are playing the game hard, but fair and that is the essence of sport. If they carry on like this in this short series, not only can they win it, but also win plenty of friends in India.
Professional Management Group