So, the most the anticipated series of the year has arrived. India’s tour of England is going to kick off (yes, the football fever is also on) from today itself.
One one hand, England will also have their eyes set on the round of 16-match against Colombia. Meanwhile, the Indian team will aim to take a right first step in England.
India will be happy to play the limited-overs leg before the Test series. Furthermore, a one month time is the perfect icing on the cake they would have hoped for.
In fact, the white-ball cricket will be battle between the two batting giants. It is going to be 1st rank vs 2nd rank in both T20Is, and ODIs. Meanwhile, there would be question marks hovering in both the dressing room.
In the Indian dressing room, Virat Kohli and Co. will have to answer how they will tackle the in-form England batsmen? How can they acclimatize quickly? How can they play the moving red cherry? Will their batsmen deliver? Will Virat Kohli finally come good in English conditions?
On the other hand, England is playing some beautiful white-ball cricket. They have ticked the right boxes in the recent past. Henceforth, as they will be playing in their conditions, they will be batting against fewer questions.
In fact, the top agenda of their team meetings will be the discussion on how to play Indian wrist spinners. Thus, there is no doubt that England batsmen must have been busy watching videos of both Chahal and Kuldeep.
The shortest format brings a greater unpredictability with itself. Ergo, there is no room for a second chance, a howler in the field can be the difference between win and loss; between joy and despair.
Thus, both teams will be determined to give nothing away, and the one who will be to remain at the top of their game will benefit.
Both teams are batting heavyweights, and thus the bowling department will play a crucial role. Therefore, the loss of Jasprit Bumrah from the T20I squad is massive for the tourists.
India will face some selection headaches for the first T20I. They might go in with both Suresh Raina and KL Rahul in the middle-order. Thus, Rahul might have to bat out of his opening position.
England spinners had achieved success against the depleted Australian side. However, they will face a tougher challenge against the Indian batsmen who generally have their bases covered against spin.
England top-order is in fine form. Consequently, the only way to put the brakes on their innings will be to take early wickets. The hosts have played some ruthless cricket, and the Indian team will not like to be their next prey.
In fact, other teams have struggled to put up a fight against England juggernauts. Thus, the visitors will aim to give a run for the money to the Eoin Morgan side. It should be an exciting series between the two best-limited overs side, the one which should bring the fans to the edge of their seat.
Furthermore, as the next year World Cup is going to be held in England, this upcoming short series holds a special weight in itself.
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester.
Date and Time: 3rd July, 5:30 pm local time (10:00 pm IST)
Pitch Report: The fifth ODI pitch against Australia at Old Trafford was slow and low. However, it can be an altogether different surface to make the first T20I a big run fest.
Weather Conditions: The clear blue skies is going to greet the players from both teams. The temperature will hover around 20-degree Celsius. Thus, the conditions will ideal for the players.
Form Guide (Last five matches)
England slightly holds its wood on India in the shortest format. They have won six out of the 11 matches against the Men in Blue. In fact, they have won all three games played in their conditions.
Kuldeep Yadav (11.2) and Yuzvendra Chahal (13.0) have the best and third-best strike rates among all spinners who have bowled in ten or more T20I innings.
India skipper Virat Kohli is just eight runs shy from the 2000 T20I runs landmark. Kohli will become the quickest to the personal milestone. The talisman right-hander will also become the fourth batsmen to scale 2000 runs in the shortest format.
Indian limited-overs deputy, Rohit Sharma is also hot on the heels of his skipper. The flamboyant right-hander is 51 runs away from the 2000 runs landmark.
England Predicted XI: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Liam Plunkett, David Willey, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid.
India’s Predicted XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (wk), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav.