T20 World Cup: Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya give India early pointers

Bowlers also make an impact during warm-up match against Bangladesh in New York

Rishabh Pant, right, and Hardik Pandya excelled with the bat during India's T20 World Cup warm-up match against Bangladesh in New York. AFP
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Rishabh Pant ticked many boxes in what was his first outing in an India jersey since his serious accident in 2022 as he hit a sparkling fifty on a difficult New York surface during a T20 World Cup warm-up match against Bangladesh on Saturday.

Batting first on an unknown surface at the Nassau County International Stadium, India's makeshift opening combination of captain Rohit Sharma and Sanju Samson struggled to get going against the Bangladesh bowlers; Virat Kohli did not take part in the match as he had landed in New York only on Friday.

The surface offered purchase to the fast and slow bowlers, which helped the Tigers keep a lid on the scoring for most part.

Samson departed for a six-ball one while captain Sharma scored at a little over run a ball in his 23 from 19 balls. It was Pant, promoted up to number three, who held the innings together. He got the ball rolling by smashing successive sixes off Shakib Al Hasan. Pant reached 53 from 32 balls and looked good for a lot more before he was retired out.

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Suryakumar Yadav hit a brisk 31 from 18 balls but the designated power hitter of the squad – Shivam Dube – could barely put bat to ball as he laboured to 14 from 16 balls with one six.

It was left to Hardik Pandya to rescue the innings. The all-rounder proved there is no substitute for experience as he hit an unbeaten 40 from 23 balls, including three successive sixes off Tanvir Islam.

The warm-up match in New York also showed that this tournament could be lot more challenging for batting, at least at some venues, as both pacers and spinners got ample help in the air and off the surface.

India reached 182-5 in their 20 overs.

A sizeable number of players had just returned from the Indian Premier League where scores of 250 and more were scored regularly. However, new venues like New York and Dallas, and a few in the Caribbean could require a lot more nuanced approach to T20 cricket.

India's bowling attack then made the most of helpful conditions as their quicks scythed through the Bangladesh top order. Left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh got the ball to hold and move off the pitch as he picked 2-3 in his first two overs.

Jasprit Bumrah bowled one incisive over at the start before the rest of the bowling attack was given a chance to stake their claim for a spot in the playing XI.

Dube bowled three overs and got enough encouragement from the pitch to remain in the mind of the team management for the main phase of the tournament. He even picked up two wickets off successive balls in the last over of the innings.

Bangladesh were reduced to 41-5 and the game was as good as over. The Indians restricted Bangladesh to 122-9 to win easily. But more importantly they got an idea about the conditions that should be similar when they face Ireland in their first match of the World Cup on Wednesday and then Pakistan on Sunday.

Updated: June 01, 2024, 6:31 PM