In an XI with a batting line-up as deep till the No.8 position, very little is expected from the bowlers, who are expected to play the supporting cast. Coming into the 2014 edition of the ICC World Twenty20, the script was slightly different as the usual lead actors (read Indian batsmen) found themselves in a new role, a supporting role. (Also Read: Mishra gets his break, belatedly)
First, the conditions (read dew) didn’t allow Mahendra Singh Dhoni to bat first. Second, the bowlers, both seamers and spinners, rose to the occasion. Containing oppositions like Pakistan and West Indies, both who have explosive batsmen in their ranks, around the 130-run mark is a job well done. While the spinners continued from where they left during the 2014 edition of the Asia Cup, it was heartening to see how the seamers bowled with the best foot forward.
Before the game against Pakistan – also the tournament opener – a lot of permutations and combinations were put in place on whether the team management will go ahead with an extra spinner in Amit Mishra or a seam bowling all-rounder in Stuart Binny. With so much confusion around, Dhoni did what he does best – take a huge gamble.
Playing in conditions where dew is expected to play a crucial role, Dhoni chose Mishra over Binny, who would have added further depth to the batting. After outstanding performances in the first two fixtures, Mishra inclusion turns out to be a gamble well taken. Playing the biryani dancer – a term which Salman Khan used for the support dancers – for a long time, Mishra spun into lead role with utmost ease and perfection. (Photos: 2/2 for India, Mishra)
Figures of 2/18 – against West Indies – and 2/22 – against Pakistan – in the shortest format of the game are the perfect ingredients of a blockbuster storyboard. Add to it the variety he serves to his skipper – who loves playing around with the slow bowlers.
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The shorter format and the attacking batsmen have not forced Mishra to change his style of bowling one bit. He continues to give the ball a lot of air, and mixes things up well during his quota of four overs. They say the best way to disturb a batsman is to flight it above his eye level and Mishra, it seems, is leaving no stone unturned to do the same. In an era where the bowlers have the doosra, teesra and the carrom in their armoury, this pleasing leg-spinner is happy to play around with the leg-spinner, the faster one and the surprising googly!
If there are no last-minute twists, Mishra is expected to end the way he started – like a Friday blockbuster. (FULL COVERAGE: ICC World T20)