The India-England T20I series is down to a decider and Ahmedabad, even before the scheduled IPL 2021 finals, is expected to witness its greatest ever game. Both teams have had contrasting approaches with the bat and with the ball, and have scored even more contrasting wins. They have won alternately through the first four matches, and now down to the decider, either team finds themselves with equal chances to win.
The role of the pitch in the decider will be of utmost importance. After favoring the team batting second in the first three matches, the wicket finally seemed to even out in the fourth encounter. Having said, the toss will play a major role and could well be decisive, especially with the amount of dew witnessed in the previous game. The England bowlers have been successful by putting pace on the ball while the Indians have found their groove taking pace off it. But despite both the teams residing to different strategies, the series has been an example template for the T20 World Cup to be played in India, later this year.
India will hope to have Virat fit, and go in with minimal changes:
The Indians especially with their batting order have chopped and changed quite a bit due course of the four games. However, in the decider, Virat Kohli’s men will look to retain their winning combination. India’s only concern though would be Kohli himself. The captain, having pulled a quad muscle, had gone out for the final 5 overs of the previous game. Though he later clarified that he’d be fit for the final game, the injury does cast a shadow over his availability. In his absence, the pressure will be on the failing top-order as well as the inexperienced middle-order. India will therefore hope their captain to be fit and playing in the decider.
The other aspect, bowling, for India has portrayed mixed performances. While they have been largely outplayed by the England top-order in the two lost games, the bowlers put their class with the wet ball on display in the series-leveling 4th encounter. The inclusion of Chahar over Chahal proved to be a worthy one, hinting against the change. Washington Sundar too is likely to continue despite a bad game the other day. T Natarajan, the fit left-arm seamer though, might get a game if India decides to rest Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the ODIs.
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Chahar
England will be ready to have a fighting decider:
Despite the two losses, it has been a productive series for the Englishmen. Not only have they managed to keep it alive, but they have also amassed a lot of experience of playing n Indian pitches, especially with the T20 World Cup on the line. Captain Eoin Morgan himself has been vocal about the kind of exposure these five T20Is have given to the English players, and their role in the squad development for the recent future.
England ideally, would have liked to experiment with their bench strength had they won the fourth T20 International. But now, with the series poised nicely in the balance for the decider, the visitors will be eager to go in with a full-strength squad. With Roy and Buttler opening the batting, Malan at 3, Bairstow at 4, and the explosive Morgan & Stokes at 5-6, the English batting order is as good as it can get. One would expect them to come good if England is to close in on India for a victory. The bowlers, on the other hand, have been fairly consistent and only need to continue their run going into Saturday’s decider. The contest between the two teams is well set up and guarantees to be a nerve-wracking contest.