Asia Cup T20. The batting has fired as usual, but the bowling has also come through despite the absence of spearhead Shami. With the World T20 Cup days ahead, they would look to maintain the same form and consistency if they want to come up trumps there. This article would focus on the factors pivotal for India’s success in the WorldT20, presented in the form of a year-by-year comparison, starting from 2014, with the following specifications:ndia are on a rampage this year in T20s, winning all the series they have played so far, the most recent being the
The two-match series against Zimbabwe in 2015 will not be taken into consideration as India fielded a second-string team there.
Since India played only two T20’s in 2015(excluding the Zimbabwe ones), the performances in 2015 have been clubbed with those in 2014, as the batting and bowling lineup was the same in both years, except Yuvraj.
The openers have definitely pulled their weight in 2016 compared to 2014 and 2015. Looking at Dhawan, 2016 has proved to be much more fruitful. That should take nothing away from Rohit, who has been consistent over the past three years. In 2014, Rohit was the only one firing regularly, and the 2014-15 numbers appear creditable largely thanks to him. In 2016 though, runs have flowed from the blades of both the openers. There is nothing like getting a solid start on a regular basis, when you head into a knock-out tournament, and the team would be banking upon Dhawan to sustain his form for the WT20.
After the opening partnership is broken, the mantle then falls on Kohli to keep the score moving. In 2014, Kohli’s contribution to the team’s score is a mammoth 41%. His contribution in 2016 is just under 30%, which might not seem like a large contribution, but there is a point to be noted. Kohli was rested for the three-match series against SL. Excluding that series, then Kohli’s contribution % rises to 37.5%, which is again a major fraction of the total runs. So, in both the years, Kohli has done the bulk of the scoring during the middle phase. This is definitely a positive sign because he stabilizes the innings during that period and makes sure that the finishers like Raina, Dhoni doon’t have to come in to bat too early. His form is key for India at the WT20.
After the stabilization during the middle phase, the platform is set for the finishers to take charge. In the last five overs, 10 runs per over(rpo) has become the T20 benchmark for a ‘good finish’. The line graph above suggests that India have finished off their innings better this year compared to 2014-15. The above Strike rate graph indicates that the finishers (Raina, Yuvraj, Dhoni) have fared much better this year compared to the previous year, which is the reason for the superior finishes this year. A special mention must be made for Hardik Pandya who has been a revelation this year, with his big hitting at a strike rate of 183.87. The lower order should look to replicate the same finishing ability in the World T20 if they have to post/chase totals on a consistent basis.
Despite the absence of Mohammad Shami, India's pace attack has done exceedingly well this year than in 2014-15, both during the opening and later stages of the game. This should be attributed mainly to Nehra, Bumrah and to an extent Pandya, who has been quite impressive this year with 10 scalps in 11 games at an impressive economy of 7.11. Nehra and Bumrah have established themselves as a lethal pair this year thanks to the former’s accuracy, precision and experience and the latter’s pace, angle and toe-crushing Yorkers.
In fact, the likes of Shami, Mohit and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were not quite able to produce the same kind of effectiveness in 2014 as Nehra and Bumrah in 2016. So, the pace bowling becomes another key factor for India’s success in the multi-nation tournament.
More than the pacers, Dhoni has relied on his spinners, who have been extremely effective and consistent over the past 2 years. The credit has to be given mainly to Ashwin and Jadeja for their spells in tandem, which have turned many a game towards India’s favour, while Mishra also has to be applauded for his miserly performances during the WT20 2014.
On the whole, the Indian spinners have been able to keep things tight during the all-important middle stages and pick up wickets on a regular basis, irrespective of the start provided by the pacers. Such tight bowling will be required from the likes of Ashwin and Jadeja in the WT20 with Dhoni banking a lot on his spinners to deliver the goods.
Though a number of ‘keys to success’ have been discussed above, one of the most important keys to success for any team is good, athletic fielding. No matter how well a team bats or bowls, it’s their charisma and body language on the field that can ultimately win or lose matches. In that respect, India are on the right track as their fielding has just been exceptional, especially in 2016 where they have taken blinders and created run-outs from nowhere. With a bunch of athletic fielders like Rohit, Kohli, Raina, Yuvraj, Jadeja and the latest addition to the list, Pandya, India have been on top of their game on the field and would hope to continue the good run.
This edition of the WT20 promises to be an exciting and keenly anticipated one, especially for the Indian fans, not only because the team is going through a purple patch but also because the tournament is being held in the subcontinent. With a combination of deadly match-winners and young and dynamic players, one can expect a stellar performance from this Indian team at the World T20 2016.
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