England suffered a heavy 8-wicket defeat in the first T20I against India in Manchester, with chinaman Kuldeep Yadav rising to the occasion and picking up five wickets. But in the 2nd T20I, England managed to render the left-armer ineffective as he gave away 34 runs without a wicket in his spell of four overs. After the hosts picked up a five-wicket win to level the series, skipper Eoin Morgan said the bouncy and quicker tracks in Cardiff did not suit Yadav’s style of bowling.
“Conditions were different today. Kuldeep’s a very good bowler and he’ll bowl well the majority of the time. But I thought conditions at Old Trafford suited him more than conditions today. With the pace and bounce of the wicket that the seamers might have dominated a bit more, but I thought our plans were a lot clearer. We played him well,” Morgan said.
The left-hand batsman further added that England stuck to their plans of bowling short which helped them in restricting India to 148/5 in their 20 overs. “When David Willey had bowled three balls and three of them flew through, I was quite surprised that the ball carried through so much. And when it did, with the big square boundaries, it is naturally a plan that we do bowl into the wicket. But that’s a plan because it’s two-paced, not a plan because it flies through. Inevitably it ended up staying the same. That was the reason behind it (bowling short),” the 31-year old said.
Morgan further went on to praise Alex Hales, who anchored the win for his side, scoring an unbeaten-58 in 41 balls. “Alex really did play brilliantly. He’s played a lot of T20 International cricket, and he’s obviously played a lot around the world and he certainly used that tonight. Having the composure to play quite a mature innings, as he did, and then towards the end, he’s not known as a big hitter but anybody who watched the game at Trent Bridge will realize he hits the ball quite a long way, even yorkers. We had quite a lot of confidence in him, but it is very nice to get over the line,” the batsman said.
England won the match with two balls remaining, but Morgan stressed that his side could have finished the game earlier, had they built up a strong partnership on the top of the innings. “If we’d had a bigger partnership up front, we might have maybe pushed it in the 16th or 17th over. But we didn’t, so it was always going to be a cagey affair when we continued to lose wickets. We played better than we did at Old Trafford. Certainly, the plans we had, we committed to them a lot more. There was a lot more clarity in the shots we played I thought,” he said.
He also praised the bowling efforts from his side but added that the returning Ben Stokes could prompt a change in the playing line-up in the final T20I. “I thought they bowled brilliantly. Certainly, conditions out there surprised me quite a bit. The bounce was a lot more than we thought it was going to be. David Willey set the tone. Jake Ball on his debut bowled three really good overs. When there’s bounce like that it always presents opportunities to take wickets, or at least have chances. They did that well, and obviously Adil (Rashid) bowled well too,” he said.
Morgan added: “Ben comes into the squad for the next game. He’s obviously a fantastic player, and there will be a difficult decision to make. We’ve made calls like this in the past, but we hope we’ll make it for the betterment of the team and put out our strongest XI. Alex always makes it difficult, particularly in T20 cricket. He’s played a lot for us. He’s one of our highest run-scorer, a very experienced campaigner, and an innings like that tonight makes him a pretty strong case for the next game.”
India and England will play the final T20I on Sunday, with the series levelled at 1-1.