After a disappointing start to the tour down under, losing the ODI series 2-1, the Indian team bounced back with aplomb winning the T20I series by a similar margin of 2-1. During the series, we were treated to some explosive, counterattacking cricket from India’s current no.1 finisher Hardik Pandya, who cleared the big boundaries with utter ease. The Australian bowlers had their plans in place to halt his storm, but the batsman was too good to negotiate it and dismissed the ball to far distances in his auspicious presence. There were technically no flaws in his batting as he converted those brisk starts into substantial scores and only got out to miscued shots in wake of the asking rate.
The hard-hitting batsman definitely needs someone of his calibre and strength, who can garner sixes at will and bring the equation down with his fierce striking. That will indeed take the pressure off Hardik and allow him to play out a few deliveries before going for the kill. The pair can come very handy in setting daunting targets or chasing improbable scores at T20 World Cup which is less than a year apart and allow India to lift the coveted trophy for a record second time. In the below piece, we look at 5 such players who can complement Hardik in performing the finishing role at the T20 World Cup of 2021
1. Ravindra Jadeja
He did a wonderful job for India in the first T20I against Australia, slamming an innings of 44 off just 23 balls and helping India reach the competitive total of 161, which proved enough as the visitors won the contest by 11 runs.
Jadeja’s staggering strike rate of 191.3 during that knock should have certainly caught the attention of the management and the selectors, who can look upto him as a consistent contributor lower down the order, winning games with his individual brilliance.
He has to be the first choice for the role, who can also provide 4 economical overs in the mid-phase. If he can keep those slight niggles or injuries away, the left-right combination of him and Hardik can work wonders for the team and bestow an edge.
2. Ishan Kishan
This sturdy wicketkeeper-batsman from Jharkhand has shown that he can play as a specialist batsman in the team if not for donning the gloves. He did that role beautifully for MI in their title-winning campaign.
In 13 innings, Kishan smacked 516 runs at an average of 57.33 and an incredible strike rate of 145.76 at IPL 2020. Majority of his knocks have come either in the presence of de Kock at the top or Hardik batting lower down.
The aspect is intriguing from India’s point of view as both know each other well having spent 3 years together at the franchise. If India can think on those lines, the 2 young batsmen can form a formidable pair and finish the games for the team from seemingly improbable situations.
3. Rishabh Pant
Having burst to the scene as a flamboyant middle-order batsman, Pant let it slip with his inconsistency and lack of effectivity in the past few months. He had a forgettable IPL 2020 as he could manage just a single fifty that too in the final against MI.
Featuring in 27 T20Is for India, Pant has amassed 410 runs at an average of 20.5 and strike rate of 122.02. None of the numbers does justice to his wide repertoire as a batsman and deemed future finisher.
Age is a huge advantage for Pant, who has plenty of cricket left under him. There is a steep competition between him and Samson for the keeper’s spot, but the Indian management can play him as a super-striker down the order, who is capable of striking big when required and winning games single-handedly.
4. Abdul Samad
Many might argue that Samad is still very young and naïve as far as his cricketing journey is concerned, but one cannot deny the fact that he was beyond exceptional in his debut IPL season where he wasn’t afraid to go after the best in the business.
Samad blasted 111 runs from 8 innings at an average of 27.20 and an unbelievable strike rate of 170.76. His 33 off just 16 balls attacking against the likes of Rabada and Nortje in the qualifier 2 against DC is etched in the minds of cricket lovers and won’t go unnoticed by any means.
Inspite of being young and very inexperienced, Samad has it in him to represent the country at the biggest platform and contribute heftily with both bat and ball, making his state and country proud
5. Deepak Hooda
This lanky all-rounder from Baroda is naturally gifted to perform the finishing role for any given side. His free-flow with the bat has often put the best of bowling attacks under pressure and made them look like minnows.
Though Hooda could only score 101 runs in 5 innings for KXIP at IPL 2020, he was there for the team come the crunch moments and performed brilliantly under pressure. His 62 against CSK in the last fixture was a testament to his finishing credentials.
Hooda has spent a fair bit of time in the domestic circuit and the IPL, and now it is time for him to climb up the big ladder, assisting his state-mate Hardik in finishing games and winning the desired trophy.