Bhuvneshwar Kumar celebrates after taking a wicket in the 2nd T20I vs South Africa.© BCCI
India have been convincingly beaten in the first two games of the five-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series at home by South Africa. But one player that has impressed despite the losses has been Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The Indian fast bowler seems to have found his mojo back after his injuries had threatened to derail his career. In the second T20I in Cuttack, in particular, Bhuvneshwar was just brilliant, taking four wickets for 13 runs off his four overs to keep India in the hunt.
Three of those four wickets at the Barabati Stadium came in the powerplay overs, which helped Bhuvneshwar equal West Indies’ Samuel Badree and New Zealand’s Tim Southee for most wickets taken in powerplay overs in T20Is.
The Indian pacer has now taken 33 wickets in the powerplays in 59 games at an astonishing economy rate of 5.66.
On Tuesday, with India taking on South Africa in the third T20I at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam, Bhuvneshwar will have the chance to take the outright lead.
India face a must-win situation in Vizag and will be hoping Bhuvneshwar can replicate his performance from the previous game. However, other bowlers will need to provide some support to Bhuvneshwar, something which cost India dear in Cuttack.
India have a few options on the bench and it will be interesting to see if they get an opportunity. Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik are yet to get a look-in and one or both could make their India debut in Visakhapatnam.
Axar Patel has been well below par with both the bat and ball and could be the man to sit out. Avesh Khan, though, economical has failed to take a single wicket in the first two T20Is.
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