Kolkata: What a contest it has been between India and England in the ongoing T20 series! After the hosts were completely outplayed in the first match by the Englishmen, the Virat Kohli-led side came back to pull of a thrilling victory in the second game that went down to the last ball.
India had all the pressure on them when they took the field against England in Nagpur as they had already conceded a 1-0 lead in the series. Their batting had failed them and there was too much left for the bowling unit to do for a win. Things however didn’t change that much in the second match too. Just like the first game, the ploy of Kohli opening the innings did not pay dividends as although India got off to a good start, Kohli’s wicket fell quite early in the innings, which already proved to be a setback in their pursuit of a series levelling win. But the man at the other end, had other plans. KL Rahul did not have the best outings in the ODI series and fared pretty poorly in the first T20 of the series. Already having his back stuck against the wall, Rahul played a fluent innings of 71 (which at the end proved to be nearly half of the entire team’s total) and silenced his critics by becoming the only Indian batsman to score a fifty in this series. Manish Pandey was the other notable contributor with 30 runs as India ended on 145 runs. England came out to bat with an intent to seal the series but veteran left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra dented the English chase by dismissing both Roy and Billings in consecutive deliveries. Root and Stokes steadied the ship but at the end it was Jasprit Bumrah who stole the show with some phenomenal death bowling and won it for India by just 5 runs.
India would still have some puzzles to solve concerning their batting before the final T20 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru tomorrow. First of all, Kohli should not open the innings as we have already seen in these two matches that if he gets out early, the entire Indian batting loses some sort of an impetus, as a result of which, they haven’t been able to score even 150 in this series. After all, it isn’t wise to put your best batsman upfront and have him dismissed very early on in the innings. Rahul has justified his spot with a responsible knock but should carry on with this momentum he has achieved.
Yuvraj Singh has looked terribly out of touch in this series after his good form in the ODIs. Suresh Raina is definitely not the ideal person to bat at Number 3 at this point of time given the fact that he his making a comeback and doesn’t seem to be in sublime touch. And Pandey, after failing in the first T20, played a gutsy innings at Nagpur, which proved to be crucial in the end.
The Indian bowling as of now looks to be in good shape and Nehra and Bumrah should bowl the way they did and give skipper Kohli enough reasons to have faith in them. The spinners, Amit Mishra and Yuzvendra Chahal too did a decent job.
England, on the other hand would look to end this long tour of India on a high. Morgan and England weren’t happy at Joe Root’s controversial dismissal, but all that is a part and parcel of the game itself. They would look to put aside all those things and look to go full throttle for a win against the hosts.
The third and the final T20 is scheduled to take place in Bengaluru, which is also the home ground of the IPL giants Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) led by India’s skipper, Kohli. The premier batsman was in scintillating touch in last year’s IPL and the Chinnaswamy Stadium would remind Kohli of his heroics in the 20-over format. With the series levelled at 1-1, both these teams would like to go for a win. And there couldn’t be a better place for a decider than the stadium, which is known for high scoring encounters.