India v England T20I series preview : Tight contest ahead

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The test series is done and dusted . England declined miserably to spin and was also a victim of rotation policy , hence losing the series  onesided after winning the 1st test. However the T20 series is widely expected to be  an extremely close contest as the pitches will be more batting friendly and England have lots of firepower in their batting , being the top T20 team in the world. 

England have at least 4 potential openers who can plunder runs at will in powerplay and beyond. Bairstow, Liam Livingston , Jason Roy and Dawid Malan  can bulldoze any bowling attack and score at cracking pace . Possibly one or two of them will play at 3 and 4.  Morgan’s presence in the middle order gives England a great finisher and then there are Jos Buttler ( who can even open) and Moeen Ali ( back from break after 2nd test) and of course Ben Stokes  . Sam Billings can replace anyone in top 6. This is an absolute menacing batting lineup and unless it’s a slowish pitch , England batters can terrorise the opposition .

The bowling looks to have variety with Archer and Wood generating pace and the Curran brothers cutting it around and bowling slower ones . Jordan is known to be a good death bowler and leggie Adil Rashid along with Moeen can provide spin variety . Then there is of course Ben Stokes the bowler . 

England may well start their XI with : Roy , Malan , Bairstow, Stokes, Morgan , Buttler (wk), Moeen , Sam Curran , Archer , Wood/Tom Curran  and Adil Rashid . 

India first needs to look at how they can match England in powerplay. For too long in T20s  India has adopted the traditional mode of going in with proper openers as in longer versions . In all probability Rohit and Rahul or Dhawan might open. However the time has come to think differently so that India makes maximum use of powerplays by thinking out of the box and opening with Pant or Kishen along with one of the traditional openers to exploit their big hitting ability and their current  good form .

The skipper will be there in middle order so one of  Surya Kumar Yadav or Ishan Kishen may have to wait for their debuts . Also interesting to see whether Rahul keeps or Pant makes his T20 comeback after great shows in Test cricket . Hardik Pandya has started bowling and is a definite starter . Shardul Thakur can be a very good option as a bowling allrounder .

The bowling lineup looks good with the return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar who should be partnering Deepak Chahar and Saini generating the pace . Yuzi Chahal is the definite starter a the leggie and Axar Patel with his recent bowling exploits in the test series should start in the XI as he is now full of confidence .

The probable India XI to start the series could be : 
Rahul , Rohit , Kohli , Suryakumar , Pant (wk) , Hardik , Axar , Bhuvneshwar, Deepak Chahar , Saini , Chahal . 

Matches will start at 7 PM and are all played at Ahmedabad on 12, 14, 16 , 18 and 20 March — all even numbers. 

India’s T20I squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma (vice-capt), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar , Axar Patel, Washington Sundar,  Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur. 

England T20I Squad: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, Mark Wood.

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