The Men in Blue started off their England tour on a winning note as they defeated the home team in the T20I series by a 2-1 margin. India was undoubtedly the best team in the series and won the series quite convincingly in the end. After winning the opening clash, the visitors stuttered a bit and ended up losing the 2nd encounter to keep the series alive. Despite scoring a relatively modest total in the end, the Men in Blue gave a valiant fight and took the match till the last over.
In the deciding clash at Bristol, India was back at their best. In a small ground, they ended up conceding 198 runs in England’s allotted 20 overs. A target of 199 is always going to be difficult. However, given the star-studded batting line-up India had, they would have backed themselves to chase the total down. In the end, it exactly turned out the way India would have planned.
Rohit Sharma who was due for runs became only the 2nd batsman in the world to score his 3rd T20I century. Rohit who had a relatively mediocre IPL was due for a big score. Sourav Ganguly had mentioned in the pre-match show that a player of Rohit’s caliber was bound to make runs after the 2nd encounter. His form will be ominous signs for India in the 3 match ODI series which starts today.
England will be a bit down after their debacle in the Fifa World Cup Semi-final
After losing the Fifa World Cup Semi-final against Croatia, the whole country went into a coma. However, the crowds who like cricket a bit more have stayed up for the all-important series. It is going to be a huge series and India will be hoping to win both the limited overs series ahead of the 5 match Test series scheduled to begin from August 1.
England has played some fabulous cricket in the recent past. They have beaten Australia by a 5-0 margin in the ODI series. However, they are well aware of the fact that India will pose a different sort of a challenge what so ever. Their batting department consists of some real top class batters. The likes of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow have done wonders for England.
Even the bowling department looks solid for the home team. After suffering a series defeat in the T20I series they will be hopeful of bouncing back strongly in the ODI series. They have been quite dominant in the 50 overs format and the Men in Blue will surely test the home team. India is arguably the best team in the moment and England faces a huge challenge after suffering a defeat in the T20I series. India will surely make a few changes from the XI which played in the final T20I.
The home team will face a huge dilemma in whether to add Ben Stokes or not. The all-rounder wasn’t part of the playing XI in any of the matches against Australia. However given his abilities especially in the shorter formats, Ben Stokes is an automatic selection. Anyone facing the ax will be unfortunate for the home team.
Predicted XI: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood.
The big concern for India will be the injury to Bhuvneshwar Kumar. It forced him to miss the final T20I. If he misses out Siddharth Kaul might make his ODI debut especially given the fact that he bagged a couple of wickets in his only international match. The rest of the playing XI is expected to remain the same.
Predicted XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina/Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Siddarth Kaul/Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav
Despite England being the No 1 team in the 50 overs format, India will start slightly ahead especially after winning the T20I series. The Men in Blue have played some terrific cricket in the white ball format. Hence I will back them to win the opening ODI.