England have had a great start to the T20s. By winning the 1st game, have they fired up Team India to pull one back in the 2nd encounter, or will they continue on their winning ways? Hear Shruti Chopra and Suneer Chowdhary preview this 29th January game by clicking on the YouTube video below.
Feeling a tad disappointed by the way the 1st game went?
Well, the Indian defeat doesn’t disappoint me as much as the underwhelming nature of the encounter. It was supposed to be a high-scoring contest, wasn’t it? But I think the Indian batsmen were out-witted by the England bowling on a surface where the short of length delivery became hard to face. The Indian batsmen had no early answers and by the time MS Dhoni did get going, it was a matter of too little, too late. A score of 148 was never going to be easy to defend and once Jason Roy and Sam Billings gave England the start they did – scoring 42 before the end of the fourth – the Indian bowlers were left with too much to do.
Plus a wicket on a no-ball wouldn’t help confidence levels either, but I guess even that was a little late in the day to have had much of an impact. So how do the Indians approach this match in Nagpur?
Oh, I will be very, very interested in seeing how the Nagpur surface turns out to be – because the last time India played a T20I was during the World T20 last year and boy, was that surface a shocker. It turned from ball one and India fell short of a paltry target of 126 by a whopping 47 runs against New Zealand. India had been given a taste of their spinning medicine by the Kiwi spin trio of Mitchell Santner, Nathan McCullum and Ish Sodhi. In the three matches played there during that tournament, a score of 126 was the highest and if this pitch is anywhere close to being similar to that pitch, the approach to this game will end up varying a great deal…
…and what would that difference be?
well, for starters – and this is for both teams – there could be an influx of an extra spinner. England will do well to bowl Adil Rashid as well, who joined a rare breed of cricketers in the first game when he neither batted, nor bowled in the entire game. Accordingly the two sides will also look to aim at 130-140 and not 200 as looked to be the case in the first game. That said, even if the Nagpur surface isn’t as spin friendly as it has been, the team batting will need to be cautious about targeting a much higher score than they should and fall away to an under-par total like India did in the first match.
So what if the pitch isn’t much of a question-mark and is your usual, flat Indian highway that has often been the case in white-ball cricket, will you pick the same sides for both teams?
Starting with England, unless there’re any last minute injuries, I don’t see any reason why they would want to change a winning combination that has six bowlers apart from Joe Root, who can turn his arm over as well. India have some thinking to do – with Kohli opening the innings, they were able to bring in Suresh Raina as an extra batsman who can bowl a bit but the batting tapers off steeply from the number seven onward. Even if no team change is made by Kohli, the one thing will definitely change is their tactics – batsmen will need to take more onus on themselves rather than relying on the next one given the issues with the depth in the absence of the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin and even Bhuvneshwar Kumar, all of whom can bat.
What’s your prediction?
The team batting first has won seven of the 10 T20Is that have been played at this ground and that’s something to do with the slow nature of the pitch. That’s what I am going to back this time – team batting first to win the game.