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England’s unbeaten run in the limited overs format finally came to an end as India proved they would be a much tougher opponent than Australia. The end result suggested an easy victory for India but it a closely contested match in which England definitely had its moments. The series is on the line for England in this match and they will have to come up with some better answers to India’s spinners. India, on the other hand, will want to win this match and wrap up its first series victory on the tour in a hurry.
Jason Roy and Jos Buttler started off in fantastic fashion against the Indian fast bowlers until Roy fell trying to manufacture a pull against Umesh Yadav. England will look back at that moment and think that was the first of many where they had the upper hand but failed to press the advantage.
Roy can expect to be attacked with some spin early in the next match because India will have identified him as one of the key wickets they must get. Buttler, meanwhile, continued in imperious form and registered his 7th fifty in his last 8 T20 matches.
The only mistake that he made in the last match was to attack Kuldeep Yadav’s last over when he could have sat back and waited for the last two overs from the Indian seamers.
There is no doubt that this England team bats deep and is filled with stroke makers till the end. The challenge in front of them will be to adapt to spin. Kuldeep Yadav picked up five wickets but even Yuzvendra Chahal controlled the scoring very effectively after being hit in his first over.
Does England have a plan B apart from playing the sweep shot?
We think that England can afford to play the spinners for singles and look to get one boundary per over. That will leave them with around 50-60 runs from the spinners 8 overs and allow them to target the faster bowlers.
Eoin Morgan at 4 will be a vital player in taming the Indian spin bowlers along with Joe Root. Both Root and Bairstow were made to look silly in the last game as they failed to read the ball and got stumped off consecutive deliveries. Maybe batting Root up the order could help negotiate the spinners better but that would mean a change in the English strategy of going hard from the word go.
England also needs to think about its own bowling. Chris Jordan was the most economical bowler for England and even though he bowled at a time when the Indian batsmen were looking for singles, his ability to bowl the short ball as a surprise was very helpful.
Plunkett and Ali had a horrible time as the Indian targeted them while Adil Rashid was also less than effective. Spin played a major part in England’s victories against Australia but the Indians will play that much better. England now must come up with another line of attack to get into the Indian batting lineup.
JJ Roy, Jos Buttler, AD Hales, JE Root, Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow, David Willey, LE Plunkett, Chris Jordan, AU Rashid, Jake Ball.
Three matches on tour, three comprehensive victories. India’s tour of the United Kingdom has got off to a great start and the fact that two of their victories were against Ireland will not matter too much to them.
Virat Kohli had gone into the first match knowing that it was his spinners that will win him the match. India got a taste of what England is capable of when Roy and Buttler started aggressively or when Buttler continued to boss the Indian attack on his own.
Kuldeep Yadav put in an exceptional performance to be able to restrict this England batting lineup and Kohli will know that such performances will not come in every match. India will be concerned about Bhuvaneshwar Kumar’s bowling performance in the first match.
He was wayward, did not threaten the batsmen, and failed to hit the yorkers in the death overs as well. Kumar is one of the leading bowlers for India and must get his act together soon. Thankfully for India, Umesh Yadav showed that he can be an effective replacement for Bumrah while Hardik Pandya bowled his full quota of overs at an admirable economy rate as well.
We would ideally like to see Krunal Pandya in the side instead if Suresh Raina as well. Krunal Pandya is a decent left-arm spinner, can bat aggressively and is another gun fielder like his brother. His inclusion also allows India to be flexible with its bowling if one of the bowlers is having a really poor day.
Even if India does not make a change, it is clear that it has the bowling to challenge England in every single match of this long tour.
India’s batting is not as settled as its bowling at the moment and this is why Lokesh Rahul’s performance would have made things a little simpler. Rahul scored an astonishing century to win the match for India with ease and has ensured he will play all the remaining limited overs matches for sure.
Kohli shifted down to number four and maybe that is something he will continue to do in the T20’s but we really hope to see him back in his usual position during the ODI’s. Virat Kohli is the world’s best limited-overs batsman and must play the maximum possible deliveries in every single match.
Shikhar Dhawan got out early, Rohit Sharma got a start, and Virat Kohli did not have too much to do. This Indian batting was not stretched in the first match and we think that England will definitely sense an opportunity to put some of the players under pressure during the rest of the series.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, V Kohli, SK Raina, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, YS Chahal.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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A 10% chance of rain has been forecast for the match and we are hopeful of another great day for some uninterrupted cricket. The pitch is again expected to be a bit on the drier side thanks to the weather which will bring the spinners into play. Will England ask the curator to leave a little bit of grass on the surface to combat India’s spinners? We think it could.
Par total at Cardiff is usually around 160 but we have a feeling that neither of the two teams will be happy positing that if they bat first.
India played brilliantly to win the first match and posed some questions to which England cannot get answers to in a hurry. England has now lost the last three T20 matches against India, the last two of which have been dominated by Indian spinners.
We think that India will press home the advantage and win the second match as well.
Back India to win.