India drew the first blood with a thumping victory over England at Old Trafford, Manchester on Tuesday. Kuldeep Yadav’s 5/24 and KL Rahul sensational hundred put India 1-0 ahead in the three-match T20 series. Heading into the second T20I at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, a confident team India will look to wrap up the series with another convincing win over their rivals. England, however, does not need to panic and would rather benefit with self-introspection. Negotiating the wrist spinners and overcoming the middle-overs being the primary.
Patience will be the key for Three Lions if they are to succeed in the shortest format of the game against the likes of Yuzvenfra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Facing a bowler like Kuldeep Yadav who can turn it both ways with enormous control is challenging for any team but England it proved a bit too much as they succumbed from 90/1 to 149/8. Reportedly the English camp will deploy the services of spin-bowling machine ‘Merlyn’ at Cardiff to prepare their batsmen better. But captain Eoin Morgan had also emphasized the need to remain patient as dealing with pace is something the Englishmen are comfortable with. That is evident from the good start and flourish they got towards the end of innings in the first game. Jos Buttler will continue to be the key player as he has been in tremendous form. Others like Root, Bairstow, and Morgan need to settle around if England are to make a meal of this contest.
India are unlikely to tinker with their playing eleven. Skipper Virat Kohli seemed visibly impressed with their performance at Manchester and said,”Just looking at all the three skill-sets and how convincing we were, gives me a lot of pleasure.” However, minor concerns will be around the seamers who gave runs aplenty in the first match. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya gave away 78 runs in eight overs among themselves and picked up only one wicket. While KL Rahul’s scintillating knock at number three earned widespread applause one thing it has done is remove the world’s best number three batsman- Virat Kohli from his natural position and move to the fourth spot. How the Indian think tank will solve this riddle remains to be seen.
Weather conditions at Cardiff are expected to be cloudy and grey with chances of rain. Thereby faster bowlers could play a bigger role in this encounter. Further, scores on this ground have been on the lower side and those expecting this to be a run feast will be a bit disappointed.
England- Eoin Morgan(C), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, and Dawid Malan.
India- Virat Kohli(C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Siddarth Kaul, and Umesh Yadav.