After a thoroughly professional performance in the opening T20I against England at Old Trafford, India will look to clinch the series at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.
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India was by far the better team on the day and outplayed England in all three departments of the game. The visitors have played some tremendous cricket in the recent years and it showed in their dominating performance in the 1st T20I.
Ahead of the series, the role of the wrist spinners for India was always going to be very important, and it was exactly how it turned out in the opening encounter. Kuldeep Yadav was quite exceptional and became the 1st ever left-arm wrist spinner to bag a five-wicket haul in international cricket in England.
Kuldeep and KL shine in their English debut
Kuldeep’s partner, Yuzvendra Chahal had an indifferent day. He went for 16 runs in the opening over and then completed with figures of 0/34 in his allotted four overs.
The pacers Umesh Yadav impressed in his comeback match. However, Bhuvneshwar Kumar had a pretty off day in the office, as he ended up conceding 45 runs in his four overs spell.
In the batting department, KL Rahul continued from where he left in the Indian Premier League. It was a special knock from the blade of Rahul, as he smashed the English bowlers all around the park. He remained unbeaten on a stunning 101 off 54 deliveries which studded with ten fours and five hits over the fence.
Jos Buttler a key for England
For the home team, it was a good inning from the blade of Jos Buttler which helped them post a competitive 159 on the board. However, it didn’t prove to be enough, as India chased the total down with ten deliveries to spare.
Their bowlers were unable to make a mark and got a thrashing especially at the hands of KL Rahul. He was simply superb and will surely retain his place in the playing XI all through the tour.
The home team did falter in some areas but is unlikely to tinker with their combination. The only feasible change might be Jake Ball in place of Liam Plunkett who was thrashed all around the park during the opening clash.
The India team without a doubt will keep their winning combination for the 2nd encounter. If they do manage to seal the series here, we might expect wholesome changes for the final T20I to test their bench strength.
England: Jos Buttler (w), Jason Roy, Joe Root, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan (c), Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett/Jake Ball, David Willey, Chris Jordan
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), MS Dhoni (w), Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav
Given the form India is in, there is no doubt about the fact that they will again start as favourites for the 2nd T20I.
England is too good a team to lose two consecutive matches in their home conditions. However, I will back India to win the series here.