India look to perfect new template in 3rd T20 against Afghanistan

With the series already in the bag, India will be eager to perfect their freshly-baked T20 template as a team and hope that skipper Rohit Sharma’s bat finally fires when they face Afghanistan in the third and last match of the rubber here on Wednesday.

This will be India’s final T20 game ahead of the World Cup in June, and the team management wouldn’t want any drop in intensity that was displayed during victories at Mohali and Indore.

India’s identical six-wicket wins were marked by an ultra-aggressive mindset from ball one that saw them chasing down 159 in 17.3 overs and 173 in 15.4 overs respectively.

It was a clear deviation from their earlier approach of building the momentum for a final flourish in T20s. None showed this intent more brightly than Shivam Dube and Virat Kohli.

Kohli was playing a T20I for India after 14 months at Indore, but he creamed a 16-ball 29 at a strike rate of 181.

The most noteworthy feature of his little yet significant innings was the way he handled Afghan spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, whom he carted for 18 runs off seven balls, striking against him at a rate of 257.

Kohli has always been a bit of a slow-mover against spin but there was no trepidation this time and he showed commendable alacrity to contribute his two cents to a transformed approach.

Dube reappeared in the Indian blue after a gap of three years when he was selected for the T20 series against Ireland at Malahide, Dublin, last year.

But after playing in the subsequent Asian Games, Dube could not find a spot in the series against Australia and South Africa.

However, the scattered appearances did not prevent Dube from following the path set by the think tank.

His two brutal fifties were too heavy to handle for Afghanistan, who did not have the services of injured star spinner Rashid Khan.

Opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, who had missed the first match at Mohali with a groin niggle, too showed the willingness to imbibe the pattern with a quick half-century in the last game.

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