The Indian team had a golden opportunity of lifting the T20i series title, had they won their 2nd T20i game against the hosts at Cardiff. England bounced back like a bunch of cornered tigers and very skillfully snatched the game away from the Indian unit.
The hosts had total dominance over the Men in Blue from the first moment. They gave the Indian batting unit some major blows by taking away quick wickets of the opening duo of Rohit-Dhawan and of KL Rahul, the rising star of the Indian cricket.
Though Kohli managed to stay in the middle for some duration, followed by the exhibition of some typical Dhoni innings, the visitors were able to put up a meagre total of 148 at the expense of 5 wickets.
The hosts now all set to win their must-win game too struggled a bit on the crease, yet in the end managed to get the better of the visiting team, credits to Bairstow for some slog sweeps and Alex Hales for showing some extraordinary batting prowess.
Let’s look at the 3 key points from the game that ensued between India and England
Rohit Sharma’s failure at the top order
The Hitman of Indian cricket has been failing as a leading run scorer at the top level. In the 1st match against the hosts, he escaped from the media’s clutches, owing to the mindboggling performance of KL Rahul which paved way for their victory.
However, his below-par performance in the decider game of the series didn’t go unnoticed. Considering the kind of prowess he possesses, it really came as a shocker to see him getting caught out for sheepish deliveries
If only, he would have decided to take on the English attack instead of wasting the 9-10 deliveries or staying onto the crease for few more overs, then most probably, the outcome that we know would have been slightly different.
Is Rohit’s form a concern for the team?
Regarded as one of the best timers of the white ball cricket, Rohit Sharma still has a lot to prove, when it comes to performing under foreign conditions, that too against some quality bowling units.
Without an iota of doubt, he is one of the most skilful players in the Indian unit, and second to Kohli when it comes to amassing great totals. But, his performance against the swinging deliveries has also been a concern for the Indian team.
Though he has 3-200s under his belt, one can’t deny the fact that he has tremendous shortcomings which only get opened up when playing in foreign conditions against quality bowlers.
And being one of the most experienced players on board at the moment, one would expect the limited overs vice-captain to exhibit a certain degree of expertise while staying on the crease. Not everytime you could expect a Virat innings from the skipper Kohli to push the side for a victory, it’s the role of the openers first, to maximise the inflow of runs in the powerplay overs.
Spin wizardry from Kuldeep and Chahal ( Kul-cha as they call it)
The Indian spinners yet again managed to give some serious headaches to the English batsmen. Though they couldn’t steer their team to a victory, yet, they were highly successful in their attempt to slow down the English innings to quite a measurable degree.
In the previous match against England, Kuldeep had single-handedly decimated the English lineup to low totals and this time too, the duo had similar intentions. Well, if it hadn’t been them, then chances are that England might have won the game easily with a couple of overs to spare.
From what was visible, the English batsmen were quite clever in dealing with the deadly spin duo of Kuldeep and Chahal. They didn’t go for any slog shots till the final moment when Bairstow decided to give it back to the Indian unit and smacked 2 mammoth sweeps which ensured England’s survival in the nail-biting contest.
Hales all the way!
Alex Hales is considered as one of the most destructive batsmen in the English unit at the present. His ability to play the role of a match winner backed by his prowess to take on any bowling unit is what makes him such a lethal cricketer for England unit.
He made his mark felt in 2nd T20i following a pathetic performance in the 1st T20i against India at Manchester. His 58 runs under crucial high-pressure situations saved the hosts from a series defeat at the hands of the visitors.
His strike rotation in the middle overs, followed by some scintillating attacks on the Indian pace and spin unit ensured the team’s survival in the gruelling contest. One thing’s for sure, without Hales calm and composed style of play in the middle, the outcome would have surely landed in India’s favour.
All these things hardly matter now, regarding what the Indian team could have done, what the outcome would have been, had the Indian team batted second, etc. The point is, a win is a win. And England managed to rake in a scintillating one at just the right moment to put some spice in this engrossing series. Let’s see which team gets to lift the T20i trophy!