After completing a series whitewash against New Zealand in the 50-over format, Team India endured a bit of a hiccup as the focus shifted to T20Is. Senior pro Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were once again not considered and the baton was passed to Hardik Pandya, who led India to yet another series win.
However, before winning the last two encounters, the Men In Blue endured a tough 21-run defeat in the opening T20I in Ranchi, where the hosts failed to chase 177. Following the defeat, India managed to square things off but the six-wicket win while chasing a paltry 100-run target didn’t look convincing by any sort. But the Indian unit were in complete command in the final encounter played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, as India eked a gigantic 168-run victory.
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Shubman Gill emerged as the star of the show as he slammed his maiden ton in the shorter format. Gill returned unbeaten on 126 off 63 balls, which featured 12 fours and 7 maximums as India piled a mammoth 234/4 in 20 overs. Gill found great support from Rahul Tripathi, who too was under a bit of a radar, after failing to make use in the limited chances he had got so far.
Tripathi walked into bat in the second over after India lost opener Ishan Kishan early. Despite the situation, Tripathi was the first aggressor as he slammed a 22-ball 44 before finding Lockie Ferguson in the deep while trying to go for the aerial route. Batting at a strike-rate of exact 200, Tripathi’s knock featured four boundaries and three maximums.
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Impressed with Tripathi’s efforts, out-of-favour India star Dinesh Karthik had a strong message for the fans. Sharing his insights during an interaction on Cricbuzz, the wicketkeeper-batter noted: “Whatever I’m going to say now, I don’t think it’s for Rahul Tripathi, it’s for all cricket fans, who follow Indian cricket very closely. Please don’t have temporary amnesia in the near future, because the names replacing him will be big. And then we might go and look at the score and say he just scored a 40 or a 30.
“Lets be aware of the situation, the intent and the context every time he has walked in. Selflessly, knowing probably his career was on the line but still taking the aggressive option, still taking the big shot option, high risk option. Trusting to do that because his team needs him to do that in a must-win game.”
He added: “I think we shouldn’t forget that in 3 months time, 6 months time. Maybe he’ll have a good IPL, maybe he won’t but he deserves that Indian team number 3 spot whenever that comes. If Virat Kohli chooses to play okay but if Virat Kohli is not around he should be the first choice, not someone who has done well somewhere else.
“When his career was on the line, he did a fabulous job in the last game against Sri Lanka and this game. He’s not someone, who’s gonna get many chances, still he went out with that aggression, took high risk options and did exactly what the captain and the coach wanted.”
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Tripathi had scored 16-ball 35 against Sri Lanka in the final T20I in Rajkot.
Having spent a substantial time with Tripathi while the duo played for Kolkata Knight Riders, Karthik also pointed out Tripathi’s specailty. “The beauty about him is that’s his DNA. To go out there and irrespective of how big the situation is, how big the game is, these are the kind of players you’ll need because in the big matches he’ll exactly do that,” he said.
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