The emphatic style of England’s victory in the first match is what resonates most and India need to find a rapid response. That the hosts never recovered from 22 for 3 – their second-lowest powerplay score in T20Is – was key. It left them with an indefensible total of just 124 for 7, England’s top order mowing down the paltry target with ease.
Having put their faith in an aggressive batting strategy, it falls to India’s batsmen to remedy the situation. Yes, Shreyas Iyer top-scored with 67 but failures at the top of the order and an extended tail meant the plan didn’t come off this time. By contrast, everything England tried worked first time, from opening the bowling with sole spinner Adil Rashid to pummelling India with pace and bounce via Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Chris Jordan. Then the 72-run stand between Jos Buttler and Jason Roy, whose 49 saw him pass 20 for the first time in five T20I innings, broke the back of the chase. It meant that India’s selection of three spinners in contrast to England’s one became a moot point.
Eoin Morgan acknowledged that his side expects to come under pressure during this series between the No.1 and No.2 sides in the world, but the quality of England’s full-strength side means he has back-up plans aplenty. Like England, India have the personnel. It’s a case of whether they can execute better this time to avoid conceding a 2-0 lead in this five-match series.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
EnglandWWWWL (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Virat Kohli said that Rohit Sharma would be rested for the early part of this series, which suggests they will persist with Shikhar Dhawan. But does the risk of going 0-2 down prompt an early recall for Sharma? India’s top-order failure in the first match does not by any means fall at Dhawan’s feet – their top three combined for just five runs while Kohli fell for his second straight international duck and KL Rahul made just one. However, with Sharma India’s first-choice opener alongside Rahul, Dhawan has arguably a more limited window in which to produce the kind of knock India need.
It’s near impossible to pick holes in an England side which won so comprehensively with bowlers and batsmen alike performing. To be critical would perhaps be to draw attention to the question of how they get the most from Ben Stokes in this format. His 1 for 25 at an economy rate of 8.33 made him England’s most expensive bowler in the first game, although he was hardly costly, and the fact he wasn’t required to bat is further testament to the strength of England’s performance. But there’s a sense that a batting average of 18.84 and bowling average of 37.41 simply belie Stokes’ calibre and it feels as though at the moment he forms part of the “Plan B or C” that Morgan was grateful his side didn’t need to resort to in the series opener.
England could be reluctant to tinker with a side which won the first match so comprehensively. Morgan said the likes of Reece Topley and Tom Curran were unlucky to miss out on selection but it appears the most likely change would come if the pitch looks particularly slow, in which case Moeen Ali could come in as a second spinner, possibly at the expense of Sam Curran.
England (possible): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jos Buttler (wk), 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Jonny Bairstow, 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Eoin Morgan (capt), 7 Sam Curran, 8 Jofra Archer, 9 Chris Jordan, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood
India could be accused of going too spin-heavy in the first match given the success of England’s seamers so they may opt for more pace, possibly bringing in Navdeep Saini for Washington Sundar or Axar Patel. With both spinners offering valuable depth to the batting line-up and India unlikely to dispense with their ‘go hard or go home’ approach one match in, the choice is more complex than a simple ‘need for speed’.
India (possible): 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Shardul Thakur, 8 Washington Sundar/Navdeep Saini, 9 Axar Patel, 10 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Pitch and conditions
With an array of pitches available at the vast Narendra Modi Stadium, there’s every chance the second match will be played on a pitch other than the two-paced surface of the first match, on which the spinners were able to extract wickets but England’s seamers dominated with pace and bounce. With a scorching day of 38 degrees Celsius forecast and low humidity, it looks like still being very warm and dry when play commences in the evening.
Stats and trivia
“It’s nice to get the big players out early doors to keep the crowd quiet. It was nice to get him out very early. If you get a wicket early doors, or if you’re batting and hit some sixes or fours, the crowd goes quiet [and] you can actually hear yourselves talk to each other. That’s not something you can generally do in India… especially if India are going well or taking wickets.”
Adil Rashid on dismissing Kohli in the third over
“We have come with a plan and we need to execute it as much as possible. Going into the World Cup, we need to see to it that we have ticked all the boxes. We have to try this as much as possible.”
Shreyas Iyer on India’s desire to test their aggressive batting approach with an even bigger stage in mind
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo