New Delhi, Mar 23: Team India is all set to lock horns with Bangladesh in their next Super 10 encounter in the ongoing ICC World T20 and MS Dhoni & Co would be hoping to repeat their Asia Cup heroics against Mortaza & Co in their must win game at Bengaluru.
The convincing win against Pakistan in the previous game would have brought a lot of confidence in the Indian dressing room as the side is back to winning ways, but skipper MS Dhoni's prime concern would be team's opening performance.
Rohit-Shikhar's bat has been silent for long:
The destructive duo of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan has failed to give this Indian side, the much needed start and as a result the Team, which was looking invincible under home conditions, suffered a shock defeat at the hands of New Zealand.
Even in the crucial match against Pakistan at Eden Gardens, the openers departed cheaply, putting the side reeling under pressure.
Poor batting partnership post Australia tour:
In the T20 series against Australia, India's lowest opening stand was 40, but the tale hasn't been a memorable one since then. (Match preview: India vs Bangladesh)
In the last 10 T20Is India's highest opening stand is 75, and 30 has been topped just twice. The duo have opened the Indian innings in nine out of those ten occasion, and touched double-digits in the same innings only in 3 games.
Apart from 43 against UAE, both Rohit and Shikhar failed to get going as a pair, with associations of 4, 11 and 5 in the three other occasions - In the Asia Cup match against Pakistan Ajinkya Rahane opened and was dismissed for a duck like Rohit.
Even in the ongoing World T20, the opening pair has stitched together alliances of 5 and 14.
Here's a look at Rohit's individual batting scores in the last 5 T20I games: 15, 39, 1, 5 & 10.
And this is how Shikhar performed in the last 5 T20I games: 1, 16, 60, 1 & 6.
Poor opening stand puts pressure over middle-order:
These stats are enough to indicate the opening partnership between the two hasn't been healthy, but all thanks to 'Mr Consistent' Virat Kohli, India lost just one game out of these 5 matches. Had Virat not departed cheaply against New Zealand at Nagpur, who knows India would have been the table toppers in their group.
Raina's form has taken a hit too:
Raina has been known for coming to bat in the middle overs and play some lofted shots and improvise. But, this has not been the case in the recent times, hence the southpaw batter couldn't be entirely blamed.
Both Shikhar and Rohit have failed to leave any mark so far in the World T20 and their collapse in the powerplay overs puts extra pressure over middle order. Loss of Dhawan or Sharma's wicket in the first five overs has also affected the performance of Team's most experienced T20 batter, Suresh Raina.
The Uttar Pradesh batsman's lean patch with the bat continues as he too has failed to live up to his reputation. The left-handed Indian middle-order batter has had a forgettable experience during bilateral series against Sri Lanka, Asia Cup T20 and even in the ongoing World T20.
He has scored 90-runs in the last 7 T20I games he has played ever since the Australia tour. Raina had a decent performance in the T20 series against Australia but failed to do so after that. One of the main reasons for his poor show is that he has mostly walked in to bat (in the last 7 games) in the first five overs - not an ideal condition for the middle order batter.
High time the duo shows some fireworks:
Thus, it is high time the duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma regain their lost touch and stitch a crucial partnership to ease the extra-pressure off the middle order. Also, it is not expected of Virat Kohli to perform in every game, there will be times when Mr Consistent has a bad outing, but that doesn't mean India relies only on the right-handed Delhi batter's shoulder in every single game.