“They (England) played Kuldeep really well.” India skipper Virat Kohli has not praised a team for playing India’s leading wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav well. But England did in the second T20I. Kohli was correct in his observation as England had done their homework to tackle the spinner. The hosts had a nightmare in the first match at Old Trafford when Kuldeep scalped a fifer and restricted them to a low total despite getting a good start. But in the second match in Cardiff, England not only denied Kuldeep to replicate what he did in Manchester but also hammered him for three sixes in a span on four balls to eventually end his quota of four overs with 0/34. With this England leveled the series and will now meet India on Sunday in Bristol for the decider.
But it wasn’t just Kuldeep who failed to showcase his capabilities in the second encounter but it was the Indian batting line up too that failed in Cardiff. After being put into bat, India were reduced to 22/3 in the fifth over with the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and in-form KL Rahul back in the hut. Kohli did show his class and struck 47 but that wasn’t enough to help India post a big total.
India might have lost the second T20I but they shouldn’t be worried much except for the toss as it has played a huge role in the series. The side who has been chasing has emerged victorious on both the occasions.
With Rohit, Dhawan, Rahul, Kohli and MS Dhoni in the lineup, chasing a target won’t be a problem for India but if they are asked to bat first then this batting line up has to put runs on the board. The top order struggle to play out the pacers in the powerplay which is the crucial phase in a T20 game. England pacer were on money and even Kohli admitted later that India did not have a good powerplay which hurt them.
In the decider, the Indian top order needs to provide a better start and then leave it to the middle order to finish it. Suresh Raina, who has been without runs in this series, will like to contribute more with the bat.
Indian spinners Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal have impressed one and all in the shorter format. Even Rahul hailed the two during the pre-match press conference before the second match. So once again, they will be India’s key bowlers. But India would also like Bhuvneshwar Kumar to return to some of his best bowling. He has been off line in both the games. India can still think upon making a change and bring Kohli’s former U-19 teammate Siddarth Kaul in place of Umesh. Umesh did pick up wickets in Cardiff but also gave runs at an economy of 9.
For England, Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Jason Roy would be the players they would bank upon. The bowlers especially David Willery and Liam Plunkett played a major role in their win in the second clash but a lot would depend upon these four if they bat first. All the four batsmen have the ability to hit the ball hard and put up a decent total on the board against any opposition.