India began their T20 World Cup campaign on a losing note after Pakistan handed a 10-wicket hammering last Sunday. Virat Kohli and company will now take on New Zealand on Sunday and the team had enough time to reflect on the loss, re-strategize and re-invent for the upcoming contest.
While the men in blue must have optimally addressed their imperfections after their initial fiasco, a lot remains in the uncontrollable territory, which also needs to be duly accounted for. One such biting factor is dew, which India need to be wary of when they face the Kiwis in a virtual quarterfinal in Dubai on Sunday.
The blue brigade suffered big time during the India-Pakistan game last week when the Indian bowlers struggled to even grip the bowl. With haywire economies still digestible, fans were crest-fallen to witness the Indian bowling line-up going wicketless.
With the inevitable dew certain to settle in especially under the lights, let us look at the potent ways in which India can beat their second foe - the Dubai dew.
Inviting the coin luck
Winning this uncontrollable factor- toss by pure luck can beat the unavoidable Dubai dew to an extent. With the wet ball troubling the bowlers to get the desired grip under the lights, the same comes as a blessing for the batters who get the ball coming easily onto the willow.
Skipper Kohli did stress how toss played a crucial game against Pakistan. “They (Pakistan) outplayed us but with such conditions, you need to win the toss,” Kohli said during the post-match presentation after India’s defeat. That statement from the India skipper emphasizes the need to win the toss in Dubai.
In addition to the above validation, all the five T20 World Cup 2021 games held at the Dubai International Stadium have seen the team batting second emerging victorious. So, coin luck is emphatic in deciding the fate of the match.
Simulating the playing condition- wet ball
India will have to resort to National Cricket Academy’s (NCA) curriculum and undertake special ‘soaked ball’ practice sessions to get the actual essence of a wet ball rolled in the dew that happens during the real-match scenario. Practising with the moisturizing-laden ball and getting an ideal grip will give the bowlers an ideal practice of the moist and slippery game conditions.
However, the players need to be careful of a ball fully soaked (dipped) in the water wouldn’t serve the true purpose as it makes the balls’ leather quite heavy, a rare happening in the real playing scenario.
Good length delivery is the go-to-ball
With the dew settling in, bowlers have to be very specific and diligent with their bowling lengths. From the large armoury, full-length deliveries and yorkers are labelled to be a big NO in the dew conditions! A short of length delivery sits up and becomes an easy hit. The fate of slower deliveries is no different which becomes hittable because of the not-so-solid grip by the bowlers.
It all zeroes down to good length deliveries as the best option. Further, this good length delivery pitched in line with the stumps (wicket to wicket) can become all the more lethal.
Swing bowlers to adhere to straight deliveries
The wet ball intrinsically gets heavy and offers no aerial swing. So, either of the swing bowlers- Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Shardul Thakur will have to stick to the disciplinary good length deliveries than try their efficacies with the swing.
Wrist spinners over finger spinners
The wet ball offers little to no grip to conventional finger spinners. In such a case, wrist bowling does the trick. Thus, eyes turn towards Rahul Chahar, though he has not been in his sublime form off late.
The remaining spinners- Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Varun Chakravarthy can be a threat, provided the spinners bowl the right lengths and use their variations to deceive the Kiwis.