The first of eleven encounters across three formats begins on Tuesday (July 3) with a T20I at Old Trafford before two more short format games in Cardiff and Bristol. England’s strong recent showings against Australia and India’s remarkable strength in depth in T20 cricket, driven by the IPL behemoth, means the expectation is for some high-quality, high-octane cricket.
All the ingredients are there. In Virat Kohli and Jos Buttler, there is a match-up of two of the most destructive batsmen in the world game while these are probably the two best batting line-ups in limited overs cricket right now. Both bowling attacks have pace, skill and spin – although India’s has the stronger pedigree in T20 cricket – while there shouldn’t be too much to choose between them in the fielding stakes either.
Both teams are in good form too. England have just defeated Australia five-nil in the ODI series and also emerged victorious in a one-off T20I while India, ranked number two in the world in the shortest format, have just routed Ireland twice to make that six successive T20I victories in all. England have fond recent memories of Old Trafford having narrowly beaten Australia there in an ODI last week, thanks to a genius hundred from Buttler.
This is a strong looking Indian party and after giving everyone a good run in Ireland, picking a final eleven is not going to be easy for Kohli and the team’s management. There is, however, little doubt that India have more depth and experience in this format than England who are missing the injured pair Ben Stokes and Tom Curran and the rested Mark Wood, all three of whom played in this season’s IPL.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect across the series will be how England handle India’s spin twins of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzi Chahal. The pair, who are the two leading wicket-takers in T20I cricket since the last World T20, should pose more problems to a stellar home batting line-up than Australia’s depleted bowling attack managed but the wrist-spinners could find things tough going in Manchester. Traditionally, the slower men struggle in T20s at Old Trafford, averaging almost double that of seamers.
The last time the two teams met in T20Is, in India in early 2017, Kohli’s team emerged victorious, winning the three-match series 2-1. The overall head-to-head record between the two teams favours England, however, with six victories coming from their eleven games against India but given the relative scarcity of T20Is and the resulting difficulty in building patterns of play and confidence, that arguably matters little.
Perhaps the only thing that will distract from the clash will be the football World Cup with England playing Colombia in Moscow in the first knock-out round of the tournament on the same evening. Kick-off is 7pm UK time which should be just as the second innings is set to begin. England’s supporters will be hoping for a double celebration.
When: Tuesday July 3, 2018, 10 PM
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester
Venue Stats T20:
|Matches won batting first||7|
|Matches won bowling first||4|
|Average 1st Inns scores||152|
|Average 2nd Inns scores||131|
|Highest total recorded||198/4 (20 Ov) by Eng vs ZIM|
|Lowest total recorded||113/10 (15.2 Ov) by Eng vs Pak|
|Highest score chased||144/3 (18 Ov) by Ind vs Eng|
|Lowest score defended||138/6 (20 Ov) by Ind vs Eng|
The middle-order around MS Dhoni at 5 also seems uncertain. India have three options in Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik for potentially two spots – No.4 and No. 6 or 7 – with Hardik Pandya also being a definite starter as one of the finishers.
England are likely to stick to the same team which beat Australia.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Virat Kohli(c), MS Dhoni(w), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Suresh Raina, Shreyas Iyer, Kuldeep Yadav, Siddarth Kaul, Deepak Chahar.
England: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler(w), Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(c), Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Dawid Malan, Sam Curran, Jake Ball, Tom Curran.
Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Liam Plunkett, David Willey, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Manish Pandey/Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav
Player to watch