Second T20I preview: Kohli’s India eye better performance with bat against confident England
After a heavy defeat in the opener, India will be determined to put on a better performance, especially with the bat, when they take on England in the second T20 International of the five-match series in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
It was India’s first white-ball game in three months and the rustiness in the team was evident as Eoin Morgan’s men notched up an eight-wicket victory, with fast bowler Jofra Archer picking up the player of the match award for his three-wicket haul.
Virat Kohli and Co were asked to bat first, after they decided to rest in-form opener Rohit Sharma, and their innings never really got going with wickets falling at regular intervals. Barring a 48-ball 67 from Shreyas Iyer, who came in at No 5, the hosts didn’t get any significant contribution from the bat.
While credit must also be given to England’s bowlers, with Archer and Mark Wood being lethal with their pace and accuracy, skipper Kohli was perhaps correct in his assessment after the game that India’s batters could have done better with their shot selection.
“The wicket didn’t allow you to hit the kind of shots you wanted to. Shreyas’ innings was an example of how you could use the depth of the crease, ride the bounce because there was variable bounce at times, and hit the areas square of the wicket which others failed to do. It was just a below-par batting performance and England made us pay for it,” said Kohli.
While the playing XI seems unlikely to be changed after just one game, India will be keeping a close eye on the performances of their openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan. It was a big call to leave out Rohit, considering his experience the impressive form he showed in the preceding Test series, and the hosts would want Rahul and Dhawan to grab their opportunities quickly.
In terms of the batting department, another factor worth mentioning is the form of captain Kohli himself. The 32-year-old got just one half-century in the four-Test series and seemed out of sorts for the most part. In the first T20I too, he didn’t look settled and got out for a five-ball duck.
Kohli’s incredible ability as a batsman and his importance to the Indian team needs no introduction, but his lean patch, which has seen him not score an international century since August 2019, would be a cause for concern for the team management.
As far as bowling is concerned, India didn’t have enough runs on the board in the first game to put up a real challenge but the hosts could be tempted to replace either of the three spinners – Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel or Washington Sundar – with another fast bowler.
Meanwhile, England will be keen to dismiss any sort of complacency and put in another solid performance to build a 2-0 lead in the series. Captain Morgan has a formidable squad at his disposal, with 12 of the players having Indian Premier League contracts.
The visitors were clinical with both bat and ball in the opener and India will need to bounce back strongly if they are to level the series.
What the captains said after first match
Virat Kohli: “We just weren’t aware of what we had to do on that pitch, lack of execution on our shots and something we have to address. Accept your faults, come back with more intent, clarity of areas you want to hit. Wicket didn’t allow you to hit the shots we wanted to. Shreyas showed how to use the crease and ride the bounce. Below par batting performance and England made us pay.”
Eoin Morgan: “A particularly good game in the bowling department, the wicket was better for us than we expected, we didn’t have to go to plan B and C very often, which is always a good sign. Within the side there’s huge competition, outside the squad, too.”
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Tewatia, Ishan Kishan.
England: Eoin Morgan (captain), Joss Buttler, Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley, Chris Jordan, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Jonny Bairstow, Jofra Archer.
The second T20 between India and England will start at 7 pm IST on Sunday.