India’s five unsung heroes at ICC World Twenty20https://indianexpress.com/photos/sports-gallery/indias-five-unsung-heroes-at-icc-world-t20/

India’s five unsung heroes at ICC World Twenty20

The lions share of the appreciation in the Indian camp has been bestowed upon Virat Kohli but there are more that deserve praise.

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India kept it late but they eventually secured passage into the semi-finals of ICC World Twenty20 where they face West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday. The noise, deservedly, has been around Virat Kohli for his brilliance against Australia to steer India to victory. But there are others too who have gone about their job without getting much of the plaudits. (Source: AP/ Reuters)

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Love him or hate him, you’ve got to laud Dhoni for his ice-cool head and solid head even in crunch situations. It was displayed against Bangladesh where he handed the ball to his death over specialists Jasprit Bumrah and Pandya to eke out a slender one run win. Even then, on the last ball, Dhoni showed the presence of mind to remove his glove in order to run out the batsman were the opportunity arise and that is exactly what happened. Against Australia, he had not given the ball the entire tournament to Yuvraj and just as he did, Yuvi picked up a wicket to dismiss Steve Smith off the very first ball. (Source: Reuters)

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He may have scored only 52 runs in four innings at an average of a meager 13 runs and testing the patience of the fans, but taking his 24 runs against Pakistan and 21 runs against Australia into perspective, they are both very important knocks to get India the victory. Against Pakistan, India were chasing 119 runs and were in a worrying place at 23/3 after losing Suresh Raina. The target wasn’t a big one and there were 15 overs left but the tumbling wickets needed to be stopped and steal momentum from the bowlers. That is exactly what Yuvi did with Virat Kohli. They stitched together a partnership of 61 runs to take India to a safer place. Against Australia, the target was bigger (161 runs) and the required rate of nine per over was the problem with seven overs gone and three wickets lost. Here once again Yuvraj created a solid partnership of 45 runs to take India forward and away from collapse. The rest, as they say, is history. (Source: PTI)

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After the Asia Cup, Hardik Pandya was being prepped up as a pinch hitter to come in and raise the roof – literally. But that hasn’t worked at the ICC World Twenty20 where he’s only mustered 16 runs from 2 innings. But his contribution to the team hasn’t reduced. Where the bat hasn’t worked, the fielding and the bowling has. Virat Kohli and Pandya lead in terms of catches taken in the field for India (3) but going further than that, Pandya is fiercely quick on the ropes to prevent runs from rising and gives the batsmen little room to steal runs. In the bowling department, he’s picked up five wickets but to highlight his bowling might, one shouldn’t go beyond the India vs Bangladesh match. Bowling the final over in a nervous situation where a loss meant the team was out of the competition, Pandya stayed firm despite having his back against the ball. After conceding nine runs from the first three balls, Pandya bowled beautiful line and length to get India a one-run win with two wickets from the fourth and fifth ball. (Source: PTI)

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Jadeja hasn’t had a chance to set the boundaries ablaze with the bat with only one batting opportunity so far in the tournament, he has done the hard work with the ball. With four wickets in as many matches, Jadeja has been Dhoni’s second choice after R Ashwin in the spin category. The wickets taken might not reflect his role to the team but have a look at his bowling so far in the tournament, you’d be agreeing that he’s been vital for India. His ‘worst’ economy rate has been 6.66 against Australia which again is remarkable. However, his bigger contribution has come with the balls that have beaten the bat and gone on to the keeper. This leaves a lingering doubt in the minds of the batsman and keeps them wary of the upcoming deliveries to reduce the flow of runs. (Source: AP)

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So far in the tournament, Nehra has picked up four wickets but his asset to the team comes in his good length balls and more importantly, his knack of conceding very few runs. Against New Zealand in the opener, he conceded 20 runs (from 3 overs), 20 runs against Pakistan in four overs, 29 runs against Bangladesh in four overs and 20 runs against Australia in four overs – so his most expensive figures are 4-0-29-1 at an economy rate of 7.25 – not bad considering the format of the game. Moreover, his guidance seems to have done the job in the latter stages of the nervy Bangladesh game. To top his importance to the team off, the 36-year-old stopped the flow of runs bleeding off Usman Khawaja’s bat on Sunday to get a much needed wicket. (Source: AP)