India looks to clinch series against England
A dominant opening win has set the tone and India would look to ensure that a spin-wary England remains on the back-foot when the two sides clash in the second T20 International, here on Friday.
A win would seal the three-match series for Virat Kohli and Co.
In fact, India stand on the cusp of a sixth successive T20I series’ win — a run stretching back to its 2-1 win over New Zealand at home in November 2017. In all, it has been unbeaten in bilateral T20I series since September last year.
In terms of rankings, a 2-0 series’ lead will allow India to close the gap with second-placed Australia, while a 3-0 whitewash will help it leap to second behind top-ranked Pakistan.
A loss will see England drop down to seven below New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies, respectively.
It will be a surprising downturn for the high-flying English team, one of the better in limited-overs’ cricket at the moment.
The big question facing England is how to contend with the unorthodox wrist spin of Kuldeep Yadav.
Despite the loss, one of the key strengths for England is its top-order’s ability to handle pace and it would like another fast start at Cardiff.
It is perhaps the only real concern for India emanating from that first game as the enforced new-ball pairing of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav was proven ineffective at Old Trafford.
Even with Kuldeep causing all sorts of trouble for the hosts, India wouldn’t like to to pull things back after a high-flying English start once again.
England’s top-order doesn’t enjoy facing spin in the powerplay overs, and India might opt for Krunal Pandya.
However, it is tough to see the Indian team management making space for him in the eleven after just one game. Instead, it might back Yuzvendra Chahal to deliver any initial spin overs, despite being taken for runs in Manchester.
Weather could play a part in the game here at the Sophia Gardens. The team was greeted to typical English grey skies, light rain and chill when it arrived in Cardiff on Wednesday.
It is expected to clear out for match.
India: Virat Kohli (Capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, M.S. Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Hardik Pandya, Siddarth Kaul and Umesh Yadav.
England: Eoin Morgan (Capt.), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey and Dawid Malan.
Match starts at: 10 pm IST.