England seek favourable end to tough tour

Match facts

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Start time 1900 local (1330 GMT)

England would love to go back home with at least one piece of silverware after a long and difficult tour © AFP

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It is not often that India have to contend with their batting being a weakness but ahead of the deciding T20I in Bangalore – which only gained that status courtesy Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling – that seems to be the case. The line-up is not quite as deep as it tends to be in Test cricket and their losing wickets a little too frequently hasn’t helped, leading to totals such as 147 and 144. A good partnership at the top of the order could do nicely with the trophy on the line.

England have coped well despite injuries. David Willey was ruled out after damaging his left shoulder in the final ODI and Alex Hales had to board an early flight out with a broken hand. It is testament to their limited-overs bench strength that they go into the final match on an even keel. Chris Jordan’s death bowling has stood out while Moeen Ali has improved on his most economical four-over performance in consecutive matches.

India haven’t yet won a bilateral T20 series against England, with their two-match series in 2012-13 ending in a stalemate, and England coming out on top in three previous one-off clashes. There was a distinct chance of this record staying intact but an umpiring error “shifted momentum” away from the visitors. Eoin Morgan has raised the issue with the match referee, but might well prefer to do most of his talking on the field so that England can return home with at least one piece of silverware after a long and difficult tour.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)

England LWLWL

Jasprit Bumrah’s slog-overs bowling could be key to India’s chances © AFP

In the spotlight

Jasprit Bumrah‘s intelligent variations of pace resulted in several swing-and-miss moments, leaving England frustrated in Nagpur. In two overs at the slog, he conceded just four runs, and took out Root and Buttler in the 20th to win the game. India would love a spell like that in Bangalore, a place notorious for producing run gluts.

Sam Billings has not shown his full potential in this series. He could very well find himself back on the bench again when Hales regains his fitness. But with one more chance to impress the selectors – with the series up for grabs – his future could yet be in his control.

Team news

India don’t have reason to change much. Yuzvendra Chahal should keep his place in the XI, considering he will be on home turf having played for Royal Challengers Bangalore since 2014 in the IPL. Amit Mishra did well in Nagpur and would be hopeful of another start as well. Considering the must-win nature of this game, it is likely Rishabh Pant will spend his first series with Indian team on the sidelines.

India (probable) 1 Virat Kohli (capt), 2 KL Rahul, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Manish Pandey, 6 MS Dhoni (wk), 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Amit Mishra, 9 Jasprit Bumrah, 10 Ashish Nehra, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

England’s batsmen struggled on a sluggish pitch in Nagpur, but should relish the one at the M Chinnaswamy stadium, famous for its true-paced nature. Liam Dawson, though, might have reason to complain, for he may find himself replaced by a fast bowler, possibly Liam Plunkett, in light of the ground’s short boundaries.

England (probable) 1 Jason Roy, 2 Sam Billings, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Liam Dawson/Liam Plunkett, 10 Tymal Mills, 11 Adil Rashid

Pitch and conditions

With a new outfield, the Chinnaswamy stadium is all set to host its first match since the IPL final in May last year. That match had over 400 runs scored. A flat deck and small boundaries could produce the highest totals in this series yet. The weather is expected to stay clear through the match.

Stats and trivia

  • India have played three bilateral series involving three T20Is before this and have won each of them.
  • Ashish Nehra has taken the most wickets among India bowlers in the Powerplay. He surpassed R Ashwin with his dismissals of the England openers in Nagpur.
  • Out of England’s current squad, only Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler and Chris Jordan have played at the Chinnaswamy stadium in the past.

Akshay Gopalakrishnan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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