As this marks India’s last T20I fixture before the upcoming T20 World Cup in June, the team management is keen on maintaining the high-intensity levels showcased in the victories at Mohali and Indore.
The hallmark of India’s recent performances has been their aggressive mindset, evident in their successful chases of 159 in 17.3 overs and 173 in 15.4 overs in the first two matches. This approach represents a significant departure from their previous strategy of building momentum for a final flourish in T20s.
The resurgence of Virat Kohli, playing a T20I for India after a 14-month hiatus, has been a highlight. Kohli’s ultra-aggressive innings at Indore, contributing a brisk 29 off 16 balls, showcased a new approach, particularly against Afghan spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman.
Shivam Dube, making a comeback after three years, has been a revelation, smashing two explosive fifties. His performances have exemplified the aggressive intent set by the team management.
Yashasvi Jaiswal, returning after missing the first match due to a groin niggle, also displayed a quick half-century in the last game, adding to India’s positive batting performances.
Despite these successes, the series has seen the rare failure of captain Rohit Sharma, who was run out in the first match and misjudged a delivery in the second, accumulating two ducks in as many matches. While Sharma’s form might not be a cause for immediate concern, the team would undoubtedly prefer him signing off from the series with a substantial innings.
As Team India fine-tunes its T20 approach, there might be room for some strategic changes in the bowling department. Kuldeep Yadav and Avesh Khan could be considered for game-time, with Kuldeep potentially replacing Ravi Bishnoi or Washington Sundar, and Avesh stepping in for Mukesh Kumar.
For Afghanistan, the series has seen glimpses of promise, but they have struggled to translate isolated sparks into match-winning performances. Openers like Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who had two mediocre outings, will be crucial in setting or chasing a target.
The Chinnaswamy Stadium’s smooth pitch and shorter boundaries offer an ideal setting for Gurbaz to regain form and for Afghanistan to register a confidence-boosting victory. A win against India would not only be a morale booster but also set a positive tone for Afghanistan’s upcoming fixtures against Sri Lanka and Ireland.
In the series decider, both teams will strive to make the right adjustments, fine-tune their strategies, and head into the World Cup with optimal form and confidence. The clash promises an exciting finale with the potential for more aggressive and entertaining cricket.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar.
Afghanistan: Ibrahim Zadran (captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Ikram Alikhil (WK), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Azmatullah Omarzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen Ul Haq, Noor Ahmad, Mohammad Saleem, Qais Ahmad, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan.
Match starts at 7 PM.
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(With inputs from PTI)