Review - IND vs ENG - 1st T20I.

Not every time you witness 2,090 runs being scored in a 3-match ODI series. As a matter of fact, the recently concluded ODI series between India and England was the first one in which runs in excess of 2,000 were scored in a 3-match ODI series. Imagine the plight of bowlers who would be engaged in the following T20I series!
The focus had shifted to the first T20I which was to be played at the Green Park in Kanpur. In a match, which was Virat Kohli's first as T20I captain, he had to go through a couple of selection uncertainties. The major one being to pick one out of Amit Mishra and Yuzvendra Chahal. The other one being the batting position of Suresh Raina.
The visiting captain in Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to bowl. The English batting order was in justness to the order used in the ODIs. However, there were some changes in the bowling division. Tymal Mills and Chris Jordan had replaced Chris Woakes and David Willey. Adil Rashid was included in the playing eleven. India handed debut to Parvez Rasool and picked Chahal ahead of his Haryana senior-pro Mishra.
Captain Kohli walked out with Lokesh Rahul at the top of the order. But the centre of attraction swiftly moved towards the English bowlers who had done their homework. A concoction of short deliveries and slower ones had the better of Indian batsmen which saw Rahul handling a dolly to Rashid at short fine leg on the bowling of Jordan. By the end of the powerplay, India had scored 47 runs for the loss of one wicket. Raina had joined his skipper on his home turf.

Moeen Ali was declared Man of the Match for his figures of 4-0-21-2.
Spin in the form of Moeen Ali was introduced for the first time in the match in the 8th over. The English bowlers had never really given Indians a chance to open their arms. Resultantly, Ali dismissed Kohli on the first delivery itself. At the half way mark, India reached 75-2. But the first ball of the next over saw Yuvraj Singh top-edge a short of a length delivery from Liam Plunkett. Rashid again came into the act with his fantastic catch at fine leg.
The tried and tested Chennai Super Kings fame in Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Raina were at the crease now. Just when Raina (34) was looking set for a big one, he shuffled way too much to a Ben Stokes' delivery which hit straight to his leg stump. Manish Pandey's dismissal in the next over added more to India's woes. The fall of wickets at regular intervals just didn't let the momentum shift towards India. Dhoni was their last ray of hope but some intelligent bowling did not allow India's former skipper to dictate terms in the slog overs. India dragged their total to 147-7 in 20 overs. Dhoni (36*) was the highest scorer.
To restrict England's all guns blazing batting order, wickets, nothing but top order wickets were the need of the hour which was however not fulfilled. Jason Roy and Sam Billings had scored 36 in the first three overs. Yuzvendra Chahal was immediately introduced into the attack for the leg-spinner was picked ahead of Mishra due to his skills in the powerplay. The rookie did not disappoint. The second delivery got rid of Roy and the second last delivery saw Billings taking the long walk back to the pavilion. Chahal had successfully castled the English openers in his first over.
With Joe Root and Eoin Morgan at the crease, this was perhaps the most testing period for India. The Indian bowlers had to get rid of this duo in order to press any chance for victory. Spinners came. Run rates dropped. England was 48-2 after the end of the powerplay. At mid-way, Root and Morgan progressed to 76-2 and were not looking uncomfortable at all. 72 runs in 10 overs with eight wickets in hand is a cakewalk for the modern-day batsmen.
The duo (especially Morgan) began to bring out the expensive shots. Morgan completed his half-century in the 16th over but gifted his wicket to the debutant Rasool on the next delivery. He scored 51 (38) with a sole boundary and four sixes. Root and Ben Stokes completed the formalities with 11 balls to spare. Root was unbeaten on 46 (46) with the help of four boundaries.
A win in the last ODI and a win here handled England the much needed momentum. They would be desperately wanting to win the next encounter in Nagpur and seal the T20I series. On the other hand, India would not be ringing in many changes for the next match. With four back to back failures, Rahul's form is a bit of a concern for the home team. He might well be replaced by Mandeep Singh at the top of the order.


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