The new crop of Indian players repaid the faith that was shown in them by the BCCI and the Indian captain by putting on display a sublime performance against the Zimbabweans.
On a pitch where none of us were sure as to how and what the ball will do, the Indians opted to bowl first, a move that could have backfired had the cracks on the pitch opened up. But the Indian bowlers ensured that even if the demons in the pitch awakened during the second innings they wouldn’t have much time to feast on the batsmen.
Bumrah, Sran and Chahal bowled magnificently to restrict Zimbabwe to a meager total of 168, which despite the demons in the pitch, was a total that was chaseable every day of the week.
The Zimbabwe batsmen had come in with a mindset of spending a lot of time at the crease but while that was a good idea, what they missed out on was the constant rotation of strike that should have accompanied their ‘spending time’ in the middle. None of the batsmen looked keen to rotate strike, all of them were hell bent on not losing their wicket. And in this one-dimensional approach, all the batsmen got so bogged down that the team never really looked like reaching 200(which was still less than par)
KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu got the second dimension in place as well and showed the Zimbabweans the right way to bat in the conditions on offer. Thought both Rayudu and Rahul took it slow, they kept getting singles, which kept the pressure away and thus despite the slow scoring rate, both of them looked comfortable in the middle.
Despite boasting of batting legends like Tendulkar, Ganguly, Sehwag, Dravid and Laxman; KL Rahul became the first Indian to make a century on ODI debut.
The next game is going to be held at the same venue and as the forecast is for an overcast day, the team that bowls first could exploit the overhead conditions to run through the opposition.
And while there will be assistance for the fast bowlers, the spinners won’t be left too behind as the cracks in the surface will provide grip and turn. So, as a batsman, all your gears need to be functioning smoothly, if you want to get a considerable score on this track.
There could be a few changes in the Indian side, especially in the bowling department, where MSD would like to give Unadkat and Jayant Yadav a look. But then Dhoni doesn’t like a lot of changes to his side, no matter what is the tournament scenario. So, watch out for the toss before you finalise your teams.
Let’s get to business now!
Karun Nair had a woeful first game for India but his technique is tailor made for tricky conditions as his straight bat approach will get him out of jail most times than not, and hence he could be a vital cog in India’s quest for a series win tomorrow. Get him in!
The next batsman that I get in is Ambati Rayudu. He looked really assured at the crease in the last game and surprisingly, despite having more international exposure than some of the other Indian batsman on tour, his price tag is far less. Get him in as he solves the budget issues too.
The third batsman that I get in is Chibhabha. He opens the batting and also bowled 8 brilliant and miserly overs in the last game. He can easily give you 100 points tomorrow and could also turn out to be a differentiating factor.
With MSD and Mutumbami batting too low down the order, KL Rahul seems the best possible option. His ton in the last game and his compact batting technique is perfect for the Zimbabwean conditions.
In bowling friendly conditions, it is only wise to get in a bowling all rounder rather than a batting one and Axar Patel is the best out of the corpus that we have at our disposal.
Jasprit Bumrah could be rested for tomorrow’s game as he has been playing a lot of cricket off late and maybe Unadkat would get a chance to show his prowess with the ball. I sincerely hope that this happens as I just can’t get Bumrah in with the kind of price that is attached to him.
Dhaval Kulkarni, Yuzi Chahal and Tendai Chatara make up my line up of bowlers
Kulkarni’s swing at the start of the innings really sets the tone for the game and he could easily wind up the Zimbabwean top order
Yuzi Chahal was by far the best bowler in the last game and though he doesn’t have a lot of wickets to show for it, it was pretty evident that he was enjoying the spin friendly conditions. Tomorrow could be the day that all the ‘near misses’ turn into wickets.
Tendai Chatara is a brilliant new ball bowler and he was the sole wicket taker for Zimbabwe in the last game. His price and skill both make him a very good pick for tomorrow
Now, for the flexible player I have just Rs 5000 left and hence I’ll opt for either Cremer or Muzarabani. It’s anyone’s call as to who will fetch more wickets tomorrow but I would expect Cremer, the captain, to be much more venomous than Muzarabani, especially if Zimbabwe bowl second. If Zimbabwe bowl first, get Muzarabani in!
Play the Moneyball9 Fantasy game and win up to Rs 5000, every game!
Happy team picking!