Powerhouses collide at Manchester in first T20I

After beating Ireland comprehensively in both the T20Is, team India will cross the border and travel to England for a long tour starting July 3. Virat Kohli’s men will play 6 limited overs matches (3 T20Is and 3 ODIs) before battling England in a 5-match long Test series.

Given England’s recent run of form, the tour is expected to be a neck-and-neck affair with a plethora of runs being scored across the limited overs leg.

England dominated Australia 5-0 first in the ODI series before clinching the sole T20I. Before these two teams lock horns in the first T20I tomorrow, here’s an in-depth update about both the squads.

From the Indian dugout:

Despite thrashing Ireland in Dublin, coach Ravi Shastri will be a worried man with his main death overs specialist and our star Jasprit Bumrah out with an injury. Bumrah hurt his hand on the last ball of the 1st T20I in Dublin and has been ruled out of the 3-match T20I series.

Considering Bumrah’s death bowling exploits and expertise at the latter stages, he would have been a key weapon in skipper Virat Kohli’s armoury against Eoin Morgan and Co. Bumrah’s place went to Deepak Chahar while the injured Washington Sundar was replaced by our very own Krunal Pandya for the T20I series who will be looking forward to make the most of his maiden opportunity.

The two T20Is against Ireland may have given a fair share of idea over who will make it to the playing XI in Manchester. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will be India’s trusted opening pair with Virat Kohli taking the number three slot.

KL Rahul and Suresh Raina both struck handy fifties in the last T20I while Manish Pandey struggled during his stay. MS Dhoni is likely to return behind the stumps but the management will still want to try Dinesh Karthik - the batsman who did not get an opportunity to take guard in Ireland.

Hardik Pandya showed his prowess with the bat, striking a 9-ball 32* and the Indian team will be hoping for him to be this impactful lower down the order in England as well.

India’s spin twins - Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav had it easy against the inexperienced Irish batsmen but their real test will begin when they bowl to mighty hitters like Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Alex Hales and others.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is likely to return to lead the attack in the company of Umesh Yadav.

From the English dugout:

Thanks to the latest edition of the [VIVO] Indian Premier League, England have found a new opener in Jos Buttler`who has been scoring big runs at a brisk pace. His opening partner Jason Roy can swing matches in no time when he is on song making them a lethal combination.

Alex Hales, England’s regular opener and another explosive hitter, has dropped to the middle order because of Jos Buttler’s sudden promotion. However, his ability to play spinners and pacers equally well makes him a good bet.

Skipper Eoin Morgan is a value addition for any side in the shortest format at number three. The fact that England’s top four are all in form only tells us what this side is capable of and this is not the end.

The likes of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow can float anywhere in the batting order and adapt to situations. If this wasn’t enough, England have depth in their batting as well. Moeen Ali, David Willey, Liam Plunkett and Chris Jordan, all can bat and contribute throughout.

England’s pace bowling is a mix of youth and experience. Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett and David Willey have played around the world in the shortest format while the Curran brothers - Tom and Sam are coming at the back of a good domestic season.

England’s spinners -- Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali are underrated but very impactful. India, in the past has given it away against spinners who bowl quick but on testing wickets for bowlers, it’ll take a lot to unsettle India’s might.

Off late, the tracks in England have been a batsman’s paradise so one can expect all the three encounters to be run-feasts.

India will aim to break England’s momentum and start the campaign on a positive note.

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