The T20I series between England and India has been done and dusted; “The fight between the equals” they called it. But has it gone the way in the direction as expected to be? Despite playing in their home conditions, England had surprisingly lost the three match series conceding a 2 – 1 series victory to the Virat Kohli led Team India.
T20I #1: At Old Trafford, Manchester
This might be the only T20I of this three match series that went as expected by the cricketing fraternity. Kuldeep Yadav with his wrist spin posed all kind of problems to the English batsmen while picking up his maiden five wicket haul in this shortest format of the game.
England crawled their way to 159 for 8 in their 20 overs, which India chased down with 8 wickets in hand. Lokesh Rahul second T20I century during the chase was the highlight of this match.
T20I #2: At Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
On a slow pitch, India managed well to post a good total on the board. Hosts England made a great comeback tackling the Indian wrist spinners effectively to chase down the target. Though Indian bowlers were successful in dragging the match to the final over, they couldn’t deny hosts the record victory at this venue.
T20I #3: At County Ground, Bristol
“Some of the younger guys stepping up pleases us.”, said Indian captain Virat Kohli after the first T20I in Manchester. But even after Kuldeep Yadav put up a pleasing performance in the first two T20Is, he was dropped because ‘It is just about the balance of the side’ – as quoted by Indian captain Virat Kohli. This insecurity feeling of losing place in the side even after putting up a great performance will affect their performance, won’t it?
And unfortunately, out-of-form Joe Root lost his place in this third T20I to Ben Stokes, who is returning from injury. India won this third T20I quite comfortably courtesy of a third T20I ton from Rohit Sharma and a brilliant all-round performance from Hardik Pandya.
All the three T20Is in this three match series were won by the team batting second. Though both the teams did seem like they have fielded their best playing XI in this T20I series, there are still flaws in executing their plans. Despite scoring a mammoth total in the third T20I, England couldn’t defend it. And India missed their chances at times while fielding, which made them to concede runs heavily.
Overall, England does seem like more dependent on one or two partnerships to help them get to a big score. Their bowling was almost ineffective in this three match series. On the other hand, India put on a collective effort at times when needed to win the T20I series convincingly. Not to mention, the crowd support for India at all these three venues was simply amazing.
** Photo credits to Firstpost