India vs South Africa 2nd T20I at Guwahati: 63 needed off 12 balls with Arshdeep Singh—who is seen as India’s current death bowling specialist—coming to bowl!
In literal words, the match was over, but there was still something to be seen: How India sees off the last two overs?
Indian bowlers have been struggling lately at the death, especially in the penultimate over while defending the total. In Asia Cup 2022, where India failed to make it to the finals, the penultimate over caused huge problems with Bhuvneshwar Kumar going for plenty in both the matches that India lost in Super 4’s (16 against Pakistan, 14 against Sri Lanka).
Arshdeep though had done well on both occasions in the final over. However, the real test was awaiting him on Sunday and there was apparently no pressure. One expected the youngster to finish on top note despite both Proteas batters trying to slash hard at everything.
But it was a disaster of an over. Arshdeep went for 26 runs, including a no-ball, a wide, a couple of sixes and fours. The equation then went down to 37 required off the last over. Although India won the match by 16 runs, the last two overs cost them 46 runs.
In Jasprit Bumrah’s absence—who is out with a back injury—India’s death bowling is looking ordinary. If Bumrah is ruled out of the upcoming T20 World Cup, the problems will only get bigger for the Rohit Sharma-led side.
What’s the solution?
Now the question that persists is: What is the solution to India’s death bowling woes? First and foremost, India would want its prime pacer Bumrah to recover on time for the World Cup, which, however, looks difficult at the moment. The other options are: try and get in Mohammed Shami, who has the experience and could bowl those yorkers at the death.
Arshdeep Singh would also continue to play an important role at the death. He has to nail those yorkers and get used to bowling to different batters. Not the change in bowlers but India would need to plan their lines and lengths better for the last two overs. There haven’t been many on-target yorkers or slower bouncers bowled in the last phase by India.
Having a proper plan and even better execution for the death could mean better results. India will have to try and make the most of the resources they have rather than trying different things for every new game.