Aakash Chopra, a former opener turned commentator feels that while Sri Lanka has a definite advantage going into the deciding T20I, Team India can still triumph if the top 3 in their batting line-up rise to the occasion.
Team India and Sri Lanka will meet in the deciding T20I on Thursday after the hosts defeated a weak Indian outfit in the second game on Wednesday. The visitors were forced to play with just five batsmen, with others put in isolation after all-rounder Krunal Pandya tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday ruling 9 players out from the last 2 T20Is.
Aakash Chopra: India Is Weak In The Batting Department But Can Win If Their Top 3 Batsmen Fire
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra admitted that it will be a tough task for Team India to beat Sri Lanka considering the lack of depth in their batting.
Aakash Chopra stated: “Due to the extraordinary circumstances, Team India are weak in the batting. If you look at the batting line-up available for Team India, Shikhar Dhawan has Ruturaj Gaikwad as opening partner followed by Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson, Nitish Rana and then Bhuvneshwar Kumar.”
Speaking about the lack of genuine batsmen in the starting XI in the 2nd T20I, Aakash Chopra went on to say that this is not really a batting line-up as it’s not yet proven and cannot be expected to win matches immediately.
Aakash Chopra said; “That’s not really a batting lineup. There is no depth in it. Yes, there is quality but it is not proven. These youngsters have only just entered international cricket. You cannot expect them to win matches immediately. Of course, we need to be hopeful but Sri Lanka definitely have the edge now.”
Aakash Chopra, however, added that all is not lost for Team India. Giving the example of Sunrisers Hyderabad, he pointed out that T20 games can be won with a solid top 3.
Aakash Chopra elaborated: “I am sure what Rahul (Dravid) will be telling everyone is that in T20 matches, if the top 3 perform well, then you don’t need a lot from those batting at 5,6 and 7.”
Aakash Chopra talked about how Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, and Kane Williamson helped the Sunrisers Hyderabad win matches in the IPL in the past, despite having a fragile lower-middle order.
“Take the case of Sunrisers Hyderabad. When Dhawan was playing for them, the top three – Dhawan, David Warner and Kane Williamson – mostly did the job for them. If Team India score 150 batting first, they can still beat Sri Lanka. The visitors will bat if they win the toss. And if they lose, the Lankans are going to send Team India into bat.”
India named 4 T20I debutants in Nitish Rana, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Chetan Sakariya for the 2nd T20I match. While debutants-opener Ruturaj Gaikwad perished after making an 18-ball 21, Devdutt Padikkal, who walked in at number three, departed after making a quick-fire 29 off 23 balls as India lost the match by four wickets.
Put into bat, India was restricted to a modest 132 for 5 with skipper Shikhar Dhawan top-scoring with 40. The hosts then chased down the target with four wickets in hand and two balls to spare with Dhananjaya de Silva hitting a match-winning unbeaten 40.
Shikhar Dhawan Is Proud Of Young Squad Despite Suffering Loss
Reflecting on the loss in the 2nd T20I, Team India skipper Shikhar Dhawan admitted that the side did not put up enough runs on the board. He, however, praised the young side for putting up a tough fight and making life difficult for Sri Lanka.
Shikhar Dhawan said at the post-match conference: “The surface had turn, and it was stopping a bit. Of course, we knew one batsman was short, and we knew we had to construct the innings smartly, and we had to content ourselves at some point. We were 10-15 runs short.”
Shikhar Dhawan credited the fighting attitude of his young team.
He said: “However, I am very proud of the boys because we gave a very good fight. That never-say-die attitude is amazing. Hats off to the boys for taking the game to the last game over defending just 132. Credit to both bowlers and batters.”
Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Yuzvendra Chahal, K Gowtham, and Deepak Chahar are the eight players identified as close contacts of Krunal Pandya, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday. Although all eight have tested negative for the virus, they have still been ruled out of the ongoing T20I series against Sri Lanka.