Bowling a big worry for Team India despite another series win

Team India
Indian players celebrate another series win. Photo: AFP/Punit Paranjpe

India ended their dress rehearsal for the T20 World Cup with a loss in the third and final match of the series against South Africa in Indore on Tuesday. But the Men in Blue had already wrapped up the series by winning the first two matches.

In fact, the Indians have been on a roll in bilateral T20I series after getting knocked out in the group stage of the last T20 World Cup. This was the eighth successive series win for Rohit Sharma's men in the shortest version of the game since the humiliation in the UAE last year.

The 2-1 triumph close on the heels of the series win over Australia by an identical margin has been a soothing balm for the Indians after the shock exit in the Super-4 stage of the recent Asia Cup.

Twin blows

Despite their maiden series win over the Proteas at home, there is still plenty to ponder for the Indian think tank. The balance of the team has been upset as pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and ace all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja have been ruled out for the mega event with injuries.

Bumrah will be sorely missed, especially in the death overs, while Jadeja's absence will be felt in all three departments on the big Australian grounds. Axar Patel, the latter's replacement, will find it hard to replicate the success Down Under despite his exploits in Indian conditions.

Weak point

Death bowling remains India's biggest worry. Arshdeep Singh, who is expected to be one of the designated death bowlers, went for plenty in the first two games. However, it must be noted that the rookie left-arm pacer's initial burst more or less settled the issue. He took three in his first over in the opener at Thiruvananthapuram, while his twin blows put South Africa on the back foot in their mammoth chase of 238 in the second game at Guwahati.

Arshdeep Singh
It was a mixed series for Arshdeep Singh. File photo: AFP/Dibyangshu Sarkar

However, the Punjab seamer was taken to the cleaners by a marauding David Miller on a small ground at Guwahati and he ended up with figure of 2/62 from his four overs. The four-pronged Indian seam attack of Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav and Harshal Patel all went for an economy of over 10 again at a relatively small Holkar Stadium in Indore in the final game.

India's forte

On the other hand the Indian batting looks in good shape. Opener K L Rahul has shown signs of getting back to his best, while Suyakumar Yadav has been in stunning form at No. 4. Rohit and Virat Kohli too look in decent touch, while Dinesh Karthik has made the most of the limited chances that he has got.

The Men in Blue have been like the old South African teams in the ICC events of late. The success in the bilateral series counts for nothing in the marquee events and it's up to Rohit and Co. to set the record straight this time around.

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