India, England move to Bristol in series decider

The game of cricket is a great leveller. Kuldeep Yadav bagged 5 wickets at Manchester but went wicketless in Cardiff while Alex Hales scored a match-winning 58* on Friday after a torturous knock in the first T20I.

To sum it all, India’s wrist-spinners were made to look ordinary by the English men -- mainly Hales and Jonny Bairstow. India’s batting also did not click in Cardiff with England restricting India under 150.

Now with nothing to lose, both teams will come out all guns blazing in Bristol on Sunday. Here’s what both the dugouts look like ahead of the eagerly anticipated series decider.

From the Indian dugout:

India fought till the end but what strikes immediately is the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, a genuine death overs specialist. Umesh Yadav was impressive but leaked a little too many runs for Virat Kohli’s liking while Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled 18 terrific deliveries before Hales took it away on the 19th and 20th ball of his.

India may be a batsman short while defending a total which isn’t tall. Slow left-arm Krunal Pandya and the pace bowling duo of Deepak Chahar and Siddharth Kaul will serve as options to the Indian captain.

India’s top three -- Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul all fell early in Cardiff. The three will have a point to prove in Bristol and in the larger picture, make a statement before the ODI series begins.

Virat Kohli top scored with 47 and Raina too played a hand scoring 27. India’s middle order, however, burdened by the loss of early wickets, had to wait before unleashing. Adil Rashid proved effective dismissing Raina and holding MS Dhoni at one end.

MS Dhoni was slow to start but finished off well to help India post 148. The hosts also came with a certain plan against Hardik, limiting his impact in the end.

Virat Kohli is unlikely to make a change to his combination but will hope for a better outing from his side.

From the English dugout:

Liam Plunkett and David Willey only conceded 35 runs apart from picking up two important wickets from their 8 overs. Their performance went unnoticed in the first innings but India will need to find ways around nullifying their threat.

While England could decode India’s wrist spinners, Adil Rashid found ways to trouble the Indian batsmen. England dropped Moeen Ali for Jake Ball who picked Rohit Sharma early on but considering the small boundaries at Bristol, Ben Stokes would not be a bad choice either.

England came home thanks to an Alex Hales half-century but their middle order needs to take responsibility too, as mentioned by Eoin Morgan in the post-match press conference. Jason Roy looked hell-bent on smashing every ball over midwicket which caused his downfall while Joe Root also struggled at number three.

England learnt from their mistake in Manchester and played Kuldeep on the back foot, using the depth of the crease. So Eoin Morgan will be hoping for his men to repeat their performance and end India’s streak in the shortest format.

The T20I series final will begin on Sunday at 6.30 PM IST.



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