India vs England 2nd T20I Preview: Ruthless England present massive challenge for trigger-happy Indian batsmen
England reiterated why they are a white-ball powerhouse in the series opener, and India will have to be at their best to bounce back in the T20I series.
India's new approach doesn't pay off
There were winds of change in Team India's likely approach before the beginning of the T20I series against England. Batting coach Vikram Rathour said in a recent interview that the team will potentially try to go harder, especially while batting first in T20Is.
Virat Kohli took the conversation one step further while conceding that the team had been playing conservative cricket in the T20 format over the last few years as compared to other quality sides in this format and stressed on the need to go hard after the bowlers from the outset. To allow the Indian batsmen to do so, he packed the side with big hitters.
Rohit Sharma was rested, with KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan opening the batting. Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya comprised the Indian middle order, followed by two spin bowling all-rounders Washington Sundar Axar Patel, who also have the ability to hit. India had batting till number 10, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur also capable of batting well enough.
However, they did not get the beginner's luck as the surface at Motera was not conducive for such brutal hitting from the beginning. The wicket was a little two-paced and the ball was not coming on to the bat easily.
Understandably, in a bid to follow the pre-decided plan, the Indian batsman did not take enough time to assess the conditions and tried to take on the bowlers. As a result, they were jolted early and could never recover from 20/3 from the first 5 overs.
In fact, the team's top three Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli could add just five runs in total. Shreyas Iyer was the only Indian batsman who looked comfortable in the middle.
England's T20 skills top notch
The well-rounded England bowling will present a massive challenge for India in the games to come as well. England have arrived with a new bowling plan in this series, with an eye on the upcoming T20 World Cup as well, of opening the bowling with Adil Rashid, which worked for them in the first T20I as he dismissed Kohli for a duck.
At the same time, the pace and execution of Jofra Archer and the raw pace of Mark Wood will also be a big challenge for the Indian batsmen going forward in the series.
After their bowlers set it up beautifully, the England batsmen made easy work of the Indian total in the 1st T20I, reaching home with close to 5 overs to spare. Jason Roy was the top scorer for the visitors with 49 off 32 deliveries.
The Indian bowlers looked quite ordinary, but they did not have much to work with either.
Sticking to the plan
While India's plan to go hard after the bowlers did not pay dividends in the 1st T20I, there is no need to panic. To be the best in the format, perhaps, going hard is the best option. However, you have to be sensible at the same time as there is a method to madness as well.
The Indian batting is not expected to change their approach in the 2nd T20I despite a crushing defeat in the series opener. What they need to work on is their execution.
Opportunities for Tewatia, Ali?
In terms of personnel, it makes little sense to change things around after just the first match, especially given that this is a 5-match affair. Still, there are two spots in Team India which will be up for debate.
One is that of pacer Shardul Thakur who was included for his batting prowess as well. They have the option of bringing in Navdeep Saini or Deepak Chahar in his place. Both Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal looked toothless in the first T20I and Axar can be benched for spinners Rahul Chahar or Rahul Tewatia.
The only spot which England might discuss in terms of team changes is bringing in Moeen Ali in place of Sam Curran.
Here are the probable playing XIs:
India - KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel/Rahul Tewatia, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal
England - Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood
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