T20 cricket is all about momentum and if India’s performance in the opening game of the T20I series against England was anything to go by, it is advantage India going into the second game of the series in Cardiff on Friday. An eight-wicket victory margin is no mean feat in the shortest format of the game and it showed the domination Virat Kohli and his players had on their English counterparts.
Two men who stood out for the visitors was Kuldeep Yadav and KL Rahul. If Yadav spun a web over the opposition with his left-arm wrist-spinners, Rahul was class personified as he drove, cut, pulled and flicked with ease. It was a knock that had even the legendary Sachin Tendulkar sit up and take note. The composure at the crease and the emotions post-match showed that the century meant the world to Rahul.
While England skipper Eoin Morgan has spoken about the need to get a hang of Yadav’s deliveries, opener Jos Buttler has said that the team needs to keep calm and not panic after just one game. Buttler was the top-scorer for England and was the only player who looked comfortable against Yadav. Even though it was Yadav who ultimately did dismiss him, the batsman didn’t look like a fish out of water against the chinaman bowlers like his partners — Morgan, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.
England will look to tackle the Indian spin duo of Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal with a balanced mindset, mixing caution with aggression. The pace bowling department too has looked good with Umesh Yadav picking two wickets and bowling in good areas with the new ball. Bhuvneshwar Kumar would definitely want to tick the wickets column in this game after returning figures of 0/45 from his four overs in Manchester.
For India, the only worry would be the opening duo’s failure as Shikhar Dhawan managed just 4 and Rohit Sharma flattered to deceive with a 30-ball 32. It is not often that Sharma gets out after reaching the 30s and he would definitely wish to work on that in the second game. Skipper Virat Kohli hitting form (20* off 22 balls) is also a positive after the skipper failed to make much of his opportunities in the middle in the two Ireland games.
Cardiff is known to create belters overs the years and in the last game played here, England hit 342 against Australia and that would be incentive enough for batsmen from both teams to get to the crease. The weather too shouldn’t be an issue while it would definitely be a lot less hot than what the teams experienced in Manchester.
Jason Roy vs Umesh Yadav
As has been the case with Roy right through his career, he looks to keep playing his shots in an effort to make maximum use of the powerplay overs. Yadav though will once again look to use the extra pace to rattle the batsman like he did in the opening game of the series. Roy went for a flashy pull to a ball that stayed low and hurried in to rattle the stumps.
Jos Buttler vs Kuldeep Yadav
It will once again be about Buttler versus Yadav. Even though Yadav had the last laugh in the previous game, Buttler has put on a strong face and said that the English batsmen just need to read the angles that Yadav uses to get a hang of his bowling. The England opener will need to lead from the front to ensure that Yadav doesn’t cause another collapse like he did in the 14th over of the first T20I, dismissing Morgan, Root, and Bairstow.
Virat Kohli vs Adil Rashid
While Kohli returned to form with an unbeaten 20 in the first T20I, it will be interesting to see how he measures up to Rashid in the second game. Rashid did not have much to defend in the first game and yet, finished with figures of 1/25 from his four. He will look to bring the loop and guile in his arsenal into play in the second game and look to induce a false shot from the India skipper.
Squads: England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey
India: Virat Kohli (c), Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Siddarth Kaul, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav