India seek to level series in must-win tie
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India will have to quickly plug their batting shortcomings and pick the right team composition when they go into the second and last Twenty20 cricket international against arch rivals Pakistan here tomorrow, hoping to level the two match series 1-1.
India suffered a five-wicket drubbing in the series opener in Bangalore after a middle-order collapse, which saw the hosts struggle to 130 for nine after being 90 for two at one stage.
The hosts desperately need to win the second game to level the series and the pressure will be on captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men to deliver the goods when it matters the most.
Apart from Gautam Gambhir (43) and Ajinkya Rahane (42), all the other batsmen failed to apply themselves when confronted against a strong bowling attack spearheaded by the experienced Umar Gul.
In fact, all-rounder Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina were only ones other than the openers to have reached the double figures.
India would need the likes of Virat Kohli, Dhoni, Yuvraj and Rohit Sharma to regroup and fire in unison against the traditional rivals who are also equally determined to clinch the T20 series.
The bowling also remains a persistent headache for the Indians. Except for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who finished with impressive figures of three for nine in his debut game, none of the other bowlers could trouble the Pakistani batsmen.
Ashok Dinda, Ishant Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja all struggled to get wickets or even check the flow of runs.
The decision to leave out Ravichandran Ashwin in the last match was seen as a move that worked in Pakistan's favour and Dhoni might be tempted to play him in the must-win tie.
The Indians had opted to go in with three specialist seamers in the last match and it will be interesting to see whether they go in with the same strategy or include a spinner.