The series is perfectly poised at 1-1.

Indian Cricket Team
Indian Cricket Team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

COVID-19 virus has dented India’s sensational run in the ongoing tour of Sri Lanka. All-rounder Krunal Pandya tested positive for coronavirus after the first T20I and was subsequently ruled out of the remaining fixtures. Furthermore, eight more Indian players have also been excluded from the squad as they were identified close to Krunal. Although all these players returned with negative tests, they underwent isolation due to safety concerns.

With nine of the 20 players in the squad unavailable, the visitors hardly managed to name a playing XI for the second T20I. However, it wasn’t balanced by any means. Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson, and Nitish Rana were the only five recognized batters in the line-up. As a result, we saw someone like Bhuvneshwar Kumar batting at number six.

Despite all the odds, however, India did well to keep Sri Lanka on their toes. Chasing 133, the hosts lost wickets at regular intervals. Shikhar Dhawan’s men, at times, even looked set to cross the line. However, the hosts won the game by four wickets with two balls to spare. The three-match series is now poised at 1-1 which makes the last game a decider.

Meanwhile, let’s look at three changes India can make to win the final T20I

Devdutt Padikkal
Devdutt Padikkal. (Photo Source: Twitter)

1. Send Devdutt Padikkal as an opener

Devdutt Padikkal has been in stellar form this year and he looked impressive in the second T20I as well. Coming to bat at number three, the southpaw played some fine shots and made a 23-ball 29. His debut might have been more sensational had he batted at his preferred position, opening. Padikkal has opened the batting for the major part of his career.

However, Shikhar Dhawan and Ruturaj Gaikwad’s presence meant the youngster was slotted at one down. Nevertheless, the team management might alter the batting line-up to get a better result in the decider. Padikkal can be given a go at the top owing to his ability to collect quick runs in the powerplay overs. He can pierce the narrowest of gaps and many potent bowlers have become victims of his skills in the last two IPL seasons.

Moreover, Dhawan and Gaikwad took seven overs to add 49 runs for the first wicket in the previous clash. With the scoring rate being on the lower side, the pressure mounted on other batters. As a result, India just posted 133/4. Hence, either Dhawan or Gaikwad can make way for Padikkal in the opening slot.


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