Venue: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
Date: Sunday, March 14th
India hasn’t lost a T20I series since they were beaten 2-0 by Australia at home back in February 2019. Since then they have picked up results like a pair of series wins against the West Indies, a 1-1 draw at home to South Africa, and a completely dominant 5-0 win in New Zealand last year. This is the No. 2 T20I team in the world, a fact they reinforced in their last series where they beat Australia 2-1 (in Australia) in their first series back following the Covid-19 pandemic.
England hasn’t lost a T20I series since going down 2-1 to India back in 2018 and they have won seven of their last eight series in all with the only non-victory in that span coming in a 1-1 draw at home with Pakistan in 2020. Eoin Morgan and his men have won their last five series away from home, including impressive victories in South Africa (3-0), West Indies (3-0), and New Zealand (3-2).
The first T20I of this tour saw England come out on top in an upset. After winning the toss and electing to field it was the bowling work of Jofra Archer (3-23) – along with spinner Adil Rashid taking Virat Kohli for yet another duck – that really allowed England to hold the hosts to just 124-7 from their 20 overs. Knowing that a fairly basic run rate was required, England – on the back of Jason Roy’s 49 from 32 balls – sauntered to a win with 27 balls in hand. This win sets up the remaining four T20Is nicely.
Kohli said that India failed in its tactical approach to the wicket, trying to play too many shots early on in the game when a more technical approach was needed. Kohli needs to play better – his string of ducks is a worry – but the same can be said of white-ball specialists like KL Rahul, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Hardik Pandya. Rohit Sharma – rested in the first T20I – may well be pushed back into the lineup after both Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan failed to bat with the skill required on Friday.
Roy and Jos Buttler took India apart as openers, putting on a stand of 72 for the first wicket and giving England an ideal platform on which to chase down their target. It is encouraging for the tourists that Jonny Bairstow – a player that was completely out of form during the Tests – got back into some form of rhythm with an attacking shot selection that pushed him to an unbeaten 26 when the total was hit.
You have to expect India to be better here than they were in the first T20I. There is too much talent in the batting lineup – and too much ball movement in their bowlers – for the match to feel as one-sided as it did on Friday. The prices are interesting with India being a shorter favorite after that first England win, but the tourists have the momentum and at 1.00 at BetXChange they feel like the team to take in this head-to-head scenario.