India vs England 3rd T20I Preview: Poised beautifully at 1-1, sea-sawing series promises more top-drawer action
India were outclassed in the first T20I but those following the team over the last few years always knew that they would bounce back strongly.
This is exactly what happened in the second T20I.
Change of personnel, change of result
In what came as a surprise, Indian captain Virat Kohli decided to bench Shikhar Dhawan and Axar Patel and brought in Suryakumar Yadav in the middle order and Ishan Kishan at the top alongside KL Rahul. It was a surprise that India decided to drop Dhawan after just one failure and bring in Ishan Kishan instead of returning to the tried and tested opener in Rohit Sharma.
At the same time, Suryakumar Yadav's inclusion in place of Axar Patel meant that India went into the match with just five bowling options, which can be a risky business especially against a team like England, which is packed with power hitters. However, the move paid off as none of the Indian bowlers were particularly expensive.
England also had to make a forced change with Mark Wood pulling up sore. With a gap of just one day between the matches, Tom Curran was picked in his place. However, the team clearly missed the pace of Mark Wood, as Eoin Morgan conceded in the post match presentation.
With the following match to be played on a red soil wicket, which traditionally assists the spinners more, it might finally be time for Morgan to bring in Moeen Ali and see how the spinning duo of Adil Rashid and Ali fares together.
With both teams having won one match each, this series can now be treated as a three-match affair.
Ishan Kishan shines on debut
Ishan Kishan, with his dominant 32-ball 56 on debut, has increased the selection headache for the Indian team management. Virat Kohli had initially said that Rohit Sharma had been rested for the first two T20Is of the series. After they decided to bring in Ishan Kishan ahead of Shikhar Dhawan in the second match and the kind of blitz he dished out, it would be very difficult to drop him now.
At the same time, the team has shown a lot of faith in KL Rahul. Kishan's performance means that Rohit Sharma has to rest for another match or KL Rahul has to be benched. With Surykumar Yadav not getting a hit on debut, he is expected to get at least one more match.
Indian bowlers shoulder added responsibility
India put in a well rounded performance in the last match with three of the five bowlers conceding runs at less than 8 RPO and two conceding runs at less than 9 RPO which is a rare sight in T20 cricket.
It is to be noted that India's five bowling options included all rounder Hardik Pandya who has just started bowling at full tilt. By doing so, the team showed a lot of faith in the all-rounder and Pandya delivered. Although he did not manage to pick up a wicket, he conceded 33 runs from his 4 overs which is good enough on decent batting strip.
England's middle order troubles
Jason Roy struck another good hand in the second T20I after Jos Buttler's early departure. Although Jonny Bairstow scored 20 off 15 deliveries, it was the slow knocks of Dawid Malan and Ben Stokes which cost England dearly.
When two of your middle order batsmen - Malan and Stokes - score at less than a strike rate of 120, it is always difficult to mount a big score and this is what happened.
Kohli shows signs of returning to ominous form
For India, Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur were the pick of the bowlers for India in the second T20I and picked up two wickets each while bowling at economies of just over 7. After KL Rahul's early dismissal, Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli added 94 runs together to put India in the box seat. Another cameo came from Rishabh Pant, who scored 26 off 13 deliveries.
This meant that India cruised through to the 165-run target with more than 2 overs to spare. Virat Kohli showed signs of returning to his best with an unbeaten 73 off 49 deliveries.
What will play a crucial role in the 3rd T20I is that the team winning the toss will get a big advantage. Both teams can introduce an extra spinner in their attack - Moeen Ali for England and Axar Patel or Rahul Tewatia for India - as the match will be played on a red soil strip.
Here are the probable playing XIs:
India - KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal
England - Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid
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