Former England captain, Michael Atherton feels that the margin of loss for England, which was just 8 runs, in the 4th T20I against India would have been much more had Jasprit Bumrah been playing. India’s spearhead speedster is unavailable for the T20I and ODI series.
Instead, Shardul Thakur along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya bowled brilliantly, despite the challenges while bowling with dew, in the death overs after a big partnership between Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes which threatened to take the game away from India.
Michael Atherton says that India’s victory in spite of the absence of Jasprit Bumrah – also Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami were missing due to injuries – is commendable and shows their bench strength.
“As we’ve seen in this game, the chasing side has enjoyed a significant advantage, and listening to Thakur there saying that the dew has really come down in this game, that would suggest even more of an advantage to bat second,” Michael Atherton said on Sky Sports.
“And also, missing a key bowler there in Jasprit Bumrah. You can imagine that if he was playing there, don’t think England would have got close to sniffing a surprise win at the end when they found themselves needing 24 off the last over. So, it shows India’s strength… terrific game,” Michael Atherton added.
England’s chase showed both strengths and weaknesses: Michael Atherton
The 52-year-old cricketer-turned-commentator pointed out that strength and weakness in the England batting line-up from their failure to chase down a stiff target. Atherton applauded the fact England had Bairstow and Stokes batting for the 4th wickets making it difficult for Virat Kohli to sustain the left-right combination.
However, the same element was missing in England’s lower-order which has three left-handers – Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan, and Sam Curran – coming one after another, and another left-hander Dawid Malan at number 3.
“I thought England’s chase showed both strengths and weaknesses. You had the 14th and 15th overs, when Bairstow and Stokes were in against two spinners sending it different ways – Sundar and Chahar.
“He (Kohli) ended up with the wrong bowler bowling at the wrong batsman but that’s the point about the left and right hander that even a single will swap it. So that’s a strength for England when they had a right and left hander.
“But once the wicket fell, Bairstow got out then you’ve got three left handers and it was a point that we made after the second game that India won… with three left handers in the middle what is the most obvious slower ball to bowl to any right arm over bowler, it’s your off-cutter and if the pitch is holding it makes it effective,” the former batsman explained.