Shivam Dube bats vs West Indies in the 2nd T20I on Sunday (Twitter/BCCI)
India threw up a surprise by sending in Shivam Dube at No.3 in the 2nd T20I in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, with skipper Virat Kohli dropping himself one spot down the order.
Dube, who had not ever batted at No.3 in his T20 career, was given a chance to shine in Sunday's match. He eventually repaid the favour, scoring 54 off 30 balls.
So surprising was the move that even commentator Murali Kartik mistook him to be Washington Sundar. "That's what Washington Sundar can do," Kartik said, as Dube got a lucky edge to go for four runs behind the keeper.
Dube found the going tough in his first few balls. Looking to come out swinging at everything, he was failing to middle the ball and it looked like the experiment to send him at No.3 would turn out to be a failed one.
Things changed in the 8th over. India had been 45/1 after 7 overs, with Dube struggling on 12 off 14 balls.
The first ball of the 8th over was smashed for a six by Dube - the first six of the match. Then came a four, placed beautifully between two outfield fielders.
Rohit Sharma was bowled in the over, but the carnage would continue, with Kohli joining Dube. 26 runs were plundered off the 9th over, bowled by Kieron Pollard - 2, wide, 2, 6, wide, wide, 6, 1. India's innings had exploded!
Kohli, on 1* at the non-striker's end, watched as his IPL teammate forced him to play the unfamiliar role of second fiddle.
Dube brought up his 50 with a single in the 10th over, off 27 balls. India were 93/2 after 10 overs.
Dube, continuing to go for big shots off every delivery, perished in the 11th over, having scored 54 off 30 balls - his highest T20 score.
Dube had not got many opportunities with the bat since his debut in November. His most notable contribution in the blue jersey so far had been a late burst of wickets in the Nagpur T20I vs Bangladesh.
Dube was the highest scorer in the innings as India posted 170/7 in 20 overs. West Indies would go on to chase the target down with 9 balls to spare to turn the third and final T20I in Mumbai on Wednesday into a series decider.