Highlights

  • India take on Afghanistan in 3rd and final T20I on Wednesday
  • India lead the 3-match T20I series 2-0
  • Will Rohit Sharma try out India's bench strength?

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India vs Afghanistan 3rd T20I preview: Rohit Sharma eyes form as Team India look to try bench strength

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 in Mohali and Indore.

India vs Afghanistan 3rd T20I preview: Rohit Sharma eyes form as Team India look to try bench strength

Having already taken an unassailable 2-0 series lead, Team 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 3rd and final T20I 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 in Mohali and Indore.

India's identical 6-wicket wins were marked by an ultra-aggressive mindset from ball one that saw them chase 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 T20Is. 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.

India will eye an encore from the trio here.

Among these slews of positives, a minor irritant has been the failure of Rohit to fire. He was run out in the first match after a mix up with Shubman Gill, while misjudging pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi's length doomed him at Indore.

His tally of two runs across as many matches will not worry the management by any stretch of imagination. But they will certainly like to see him signing off from the series with a substantial innings.

While India might not affect any major changes in the batting unit, the think-tank can look to give some game-time to Kuldeep Yadav and Avesh Khan.

The left-arm wrist spinner can come in for either Ravi Bishnoi or Washington Sundar, and Avesh can replace his fellow pacer Mukesh Kumar.

Wicketkeeper batter Jitesh Sharma has been playing T20Is from the fourth match against Australia last year at Raipur, and if the thought leaders want to give him a rest, they have the option of bringing in Sanju Samson.

As for Afghanistan, they have shown isolated sparks in this series without being able to transform them into match-winning fireworks.

They would hope for a good effort from opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz after two mediocre outings, as his salvos up the order go a long way in Afghans setting or chasing a target.

The smooth pitch at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and its shorter boundaries offer him a fine chance to be among runs.

A victory against India will also boost Afghanistan's confidence ahead of a packed away calendar consisting of fixtures against Sri Lanka and Ireland.

India squad for Afghanistan:

Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar.

Afghanistan squad for India:

Ibrahim Zadran (captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Ikram Alikhil (WK), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Azmatullah Omarzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen Ul Haq, Noor Ahmad, Mohammad Saleem, Qais Ahmad, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan.


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