New Delhi, Feb 16: Team India registered an emphatic victory over Sri Lanka, giving a perfect start to their Asia Cup and ICC World T20 campaign. Trailing by 0-1 after the first game at Pune, MS Dhoni & Co. learnt from their mistakes and recorded convincing victories over Sri Lankans in the remaining two T20 games.
After series-clinching nine wicket win against Sri Lankans, Team India have cemented the fact that they are the top contenders for the world T20 title.
Skipper MS Dhoni too has opined that familiar home condition is also a comforting factor for the side for the World T20 starting March 8. (India-Pakistan World T20 game will be high-scoring: HPCA curator)
The back-to-back T20 series win has certainly boosted the morale of the Indian side, which looks settled and also is in good touch. The tournament has also settled the doubts over team composition and MSD's captaincy skills.
Here are the key takeaways from Sri Lanka's tour of India:
Shikhar Dhawan is back in form:
If Rohit Sharma had time and again proved his potential as an opener, his partner Shikhar Dhawan didn't look in his prime form. Skipper MS Dhoni must be very relieved, looking at the way the left-handed opener batted against Sri Lankans.
Shikhar was the top scorer for India, sans Virat Kohli, in the tournament and his sheer hitting in the powerplays decimated the confidence of Sri Lankan bowlers.
After failing to live up to his reputation in the T20 matches in Australia, the Delhi-lad slammed his first T20 fifty in the 2nd game at Ranchi and remained unbeaten at 46 in the series-decider match at Vizag. Even at Pune, Shikhar looked in sublime form but paid the price for being extra-aggressive.
One could see a dramatic shift in Shikhar's batting in T20 series between Australia and Sri Lanka. He lagged behind Virat Kohli as well as his opening partner Rohit Sharma there (in terms of aggregating runs) while against Sri Lanka, it was Dhawan who did most of the talking with the bat.
Thus, Shikhar's impressive form is certainly a big relief for skipper MS Dhoni, who always relies over the former in big matches.
R Ashwin is back with a bang!
Another sigh of relief for MS Dhoni just ahead of crucial Asia Cup as well as World T20 is his favourite Ravichandran Ashwin is once again back in form. The front line off-spinner bagged 9 wickets in 3 matches against Sri Lanka and his figure of 4 for 8 at Vizag is also his career best in the shortest format of the game.
At Vizag, MS Dhoni handed over the ball to R Ashwin to open Indian bowling and the off-spinner grabbed 2 wickets in the very first over. He was lethal in the previous two games as well.
Ashwin's dominance over sub-continent pitches will make him one of the most feared bowlers during Asia Cup and World T20.
Jasprit Bumrah & Hardik Pandya: Find of the tournament
He showed promising signs with his bowling at Australia and went on cementing his position in the T20 squad. With his impressive performance at home, young Jasprit Bumrah has definitely given a lot of edge to the Indian pace battery.
The bowler's prowess in the death overs has given a lot of confidence to his skipper who was always searching for a good death over bowler. His presence in the side only makes India more dangerous.
Another find for Team India in this tournament is youngster in Hardik Pandya. The all-rounder could be the X-factor for Team India in the upcoming tournaments. Pandya is a utility medium pacer and owns a reputation of hitting big shots. He gave a glimpse of his batting prowess at Ranchi and if he continues doing so then skipper Dhoni would be more than happy to keep him in the playing XI.
Veteran Ashish Nehra leading with example
India's veteran pacer Ashish Nehra has time and again proved why he's the man to go for skipper MS Dhoni. Nehra, along with young Bumrah, have made the bowling attack lethal and his knack for delivering yorkers in the death overs is a captain's delight.
Nehra has always been a dependable left-arm seamer for Indian captains. There is hardly any doubt about his making it to the final XI in Asia Cup in Bangladesh as well as in the World T20 at home.
Skipper MSD seems to have regained his old touch
Following team's defeat in the opening game at Pune, Team India dominated Sri Lankans in every department of the game and the credit for the same goes to skipper MS Dhoni's captaincy.
Despite a shambolic defeat team went unchanged in the remainder of the series. MS Dhoni handed over the ball to his trusted lieutenant R Ashwin to start bowling attack at Vizag. This further shows that the skipper is confident over his bowlers and his strategies are once again working for the side. He was also seen calm and composed throughout the series, which makes him even more dangerous of skippers.
The skipper has once again managed a young Indian side very well and now his patience is finally bearing fruits. The team looks almost settled and in good form too, only worry is lower middle order still not playing up to its potential.
There were numerous occasions when Dhoni was seen asking his team mates to put in some extra efforts and the team mates reciprocated in a positive manner. One just hopes he regains the same old batting touch.
Yuvraj Singh's presence matters for Team India
Yuvraj Singh may not have yet delivered as expected, but his presence in the squad ensures more depth in batting. It's a matter of just one game that the flamboyant left handed batsman explodes and shows why he's feared by bowlers.