Bhuvneshwar v Warner
There are two ways to approach a new T20 innings against a potential wicket-taker. Either you back your technique to play out a few dot balls, keeping in mind the fact that no bowler bowls more than a couple of overs on the trot, or you move around to unsettle the bowler. David Warner went for option B: he stepped out of his crease to the first ball of the innings, and against the second he moved across his stumps.
Those two balls led Bhuvneshwar Kumar to shorten his length, and in the process he provided width. Warner was quick to pounce on it and collect two boundaries. The next ball, the fifth of the over, was a course correction by Bhuvneshwar, who bowled a little fuller and a little closer to off stump, and Warner, trying to repeat the shot that had just brought him two fours, chopped it back onto his stumps.
Kohli's endless rotation
It was interesting to note how Virat Kohli rotated his bowlers in the first six overs. He used three different bowlers without any of them bowling successive overs from the same end. The idea was to keep the batsman guessing, for batsmen seldom take risks in a bowler's first over. Instead they look to line him up for the next over, but in today's case, there was no second over on the bounce. The choice for the sixth over was a little surprising because traditionally the sixth over is the most expensive over and therefore, you opt for the best bowler. Kohli chose Hardik Pandya instead, and he went for 13.
In total, Kohli went on to make 12 bowling changes in an 18.4-over innings, and it wasn't because his bowlers were leaking runs but because he wanted to rotate them and get rid of Pandya's weaker overs.
Kuldeep v Finch
Aaron Finch began sweeping Kuldeep Yadav right from the wristspinner's first ball. Finch's reputation of hitting the full ball out of the park forced Yadav to shorten his length and that opened up the sweeping option. The ball that dismissed Finch was the fastest, flattest and fullest ball he bowled to the right-handed batsman. Finch, once again, lined up the sweep but couldn't put bat to ball because of the length: too full.
Maxwell vs Chahal
Glenn Maxwell's struggles against legspin are well documented, and Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed him again in Ranchi: for the fourth time in four matches on this tour. Maxwell counters this by pointing to his strike-rate against legspinners but even his ability to hit them for sixes can't mask his issues against them. Sometimes you go after people because you know them well but sometimes you go after them because deep inside you're aware of your weaknesses. Maxwell's issue with legspinners is threatening to fall in the latter category. Also, it's an IPL 2018 audition for him--after a couple of middling seasons with Kings XI Punjab, his reputation has taken a beating and if he doesn't turn it around in the next couple of games, he won't find many takers during the IPL auctions.
Dhawan picks the length early
India needing 48 in six overs with only two Powerplay overs might have tempted the team to think about a different opening combination. Since Shikhar Dhawan has been out of action for a while, it was plausible that he might get a little stuck and waste a few crucial deliveries. While such run chases are usually straightforward, they can get tricky if you have a few quiet overs to begin with. Dhawan was preferred and the way he played the pull shot showed he was able to pick the length quickly. Picking the length early is key to reacting and is also a good indicator of a batsman's form. In his brief stay at the crease, Dhawan gave the impression that he had never gone away.