India's ten series' unbeaten streak came to an end today when New Zealand beat India 2-1 and took the T20I series. India was outplayed in the first T20I but, made a strong comeback in the second game to equal the series. Today, they had a golden opportunity to win their first ever T20I series on New Zealand soil, but again were let down by the bowlers by conceding 200 runs yet again in this series.
This made life difficult for the batters, who tried hard. India lost the close encounter by four runs. Stand-in captain Rohit Sharma had a great start to his captaincy career, and India had never lost a series under his leadership. But today, his winning streak also came to an end.
This is also the first time India lost a T20I series decider. Rohit knows taking good decisions as a leader, but there were a few decisions made under his captaincy which might have cost India the series. Let's have a look at three such decisions.
#1 Not utilizing Vijay Shankar as a bowler
The Tamil Nadu all-rounder came to the team as a batting all-rounder. He doesn't have a great bowling record on the domestic circuit but is a decent medium pace bowler. Rohit played him in all the three matches in this series, but as a proper batsman.
One can understand that if the other five bowlers had bowled exceptionally, then there was no need for Vijay Shankar to pitch in. But it wasn't the case in first and final T20I, as India conceded over 200 runs in these two games. Rohit could have tried using Shankar, which might have brought some changes to the results.
#2 Kuldeep Yadav playing only one game
New Zealand has a weakness against wrist spinners, which was clearly evident on this tour. Especially against Kuldeep Yadav, they struggled a lot. He was one of the reasons why India won the ODI series against the Kiwis. The chinaman took a four-wicket haul twice in the ODI series.
It was surprising to see him not play in the first two matches of the T20I series. Today, finally India played him and he was the only bowler who did well with the ball by taking two crucial wickets, also conceding less runs as compared to other bowlers.
Krunal Pandya did well in the last game, but was too expensive today, whereas Kuldeep has been a consistent bowler for India in all formats. If India had played him in this series, the result could probably have been different.
#3 Playing too many all-rounders
All-rounders are good for the game, but playing too many of them do affect a team. India played likes of Krunal, Hardik Pandya and Shankar, all in the same side. Though Shankar was not utilized properly, it still brings a balance issue for the team.
India was clearly lacking in bowling in this series, and playing all-rounders who could bowl a bit didn't help either. India could have gone for one specialist bowler, which could have brought the right balance for this team.
The record of India's top three bowlers conceding the most runs in a bilateral series has emerged from this series, which is the outcome of not having the right combination. The part-time bowlers leaked runs along with a few young bowlers, which helped New Zealand score massive totals.
This added the pressure on the Indian batsmen who were left with too many runs to chase. Once Virat Kohli gets back to the side the combination issues might get sorted, but it shouldn't be an excuse for failure.