Melbourne: India had a few worry points coming to the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 but the biggest bugbear was their death over bowling.
It wasn’t not without a reason either. India bowlers had faltered more than once in the Asia Cup 2022, particularly when Bhuvneshwar Kumar conceded big runs in the 19th over to bring a drastic change in the course of the match.
The worries grew only exponentially when Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out of the World Cup with a back strain. The absence of Bumrah had robbed India not only of a death bowler but a bankable player at any stage of the match.
Impressive Arshdeep Singh
Arshdeep Singh was impressive in the IPL and on occasion for India in bilateral matches as well. But the World Cup is a different beast, a multi-nation tournament that requires a player to be intensely on top of his game for 5 or 6 matches against various opponents in varied conditions in a short throw.
But the trio of Arshdeep, Bhuvneshwar and Mohammed Shami have so far held their own in this World Cup so far. Their biggest test was against Pakistan as the match carried several contours, and the pressure on them to deliver was high.
The trio ensured that Pakistan got not more than 52 runs in the last 5 overs, as a run-rate of 10 in the back five overs is acceptable in T20s these days. It may be recalled that Bhuvneshwar had conceded 19 runs in the 19th over alone against Pakistan in Asia Cup 2022, and here there was no such expensive single over as the most costly over went for 14 runs.
The Indian bowlers did not have much to defend against South Africa but they made that sub-par total much bigger than its original size with a gutsy show. Of course, the pitch at the Optus Stadium, Perth, did allied with the bowlers in that match but even then finding the right line and length on a helpful track needed some execution skills.
Worry for Rahul Dravid
India head coach Rahul Dravid admitted that the team is indeed taking a serious look at how they are performing in the death overs.
“It’s an area of our game that we've wanted to get better at. Obviously, Bumrah was one of our guys who was penciled in to bowl two of those overs. It was really heartening for us to see the way young Arshdeep Singh has developed over the last few months.
“If you were to ask me in November when I first took over and I had a list of bowlers in my mind, sure, Arshdeep was there, but he was — certainly he hadn't had that kind of IPL. He had one good IPL. But the way he's come along after that, he's come and forced his way into the side and done really well.
“Shami and Bhuvi have bowled really well for us. So, yeah, we have to keep developing and getting slightly better with our plans and our strategies around those games.
“We were trying to get a few wickets, and we are trying a few things at the back end. Against Pakistan, I think we conceded 53 or 54 runs. There were a few balls there that -- Shaheen Shah Afridi and Harris Rauf hit us for a six. We don’t want to concede those sixes.
“So, there's one or two balls there that hopefully we can get right and get better as we go along, but yeah, certainly an area we're looking at,” said Dravid.
The results are gradually on our view too.