India has won their 3 match ODI series vs England 2-1. Looking back at the series, all three of the matches were interesting in their own right, but the reason they turned out to be as interesting as they were was because of the mini-battles we got to see throughout each game. With the T20 Internationals not too far away, we take a look at 5 small battles between players that we can look forward to in the shortest format.
5. Moeen Ali vs Kedar Jadhav
Two of the best all-rounders in the game currently, Jadhav and Ali both began their careers as batsmen and have only begun bowling recently. Jadhav has been in brilliant form, and his century in the first ODI was a crucial part of India’s successful run chase. Ali on the other hand is still struggling to find his batting form in the shorter formats, but has become an integral part of the English spin attack, along with Adil Rashid. Both of them are exceptional players of spin, and should the opportunity arise, we may get to see a faceoff between the two, with Ali bowling to Jadhav. It will be interesting to see who can prove themselves as the better batting all-rounder in this series.
4. Jos Buttler vs Hardik Pandya
Buttler is one of the best finishers in the game today, and holds the record for the three fastest ODI centuries by an English player. While he is yet to establish himself in the T20 format at the international level, he has been successful in the IPL, where he plays for the Mumbai Indians franchise. His MI teammate, Hardik Pandya, has been a revelation in 2016 and has skyrocketed himself to glory following his success in the IPL. Pandya’s bowling has improved remarkably since he made his T20 International Debut. He is one of the key bowlers in the death overs for India. Given that both will be active towards the end of the England innings, it is quite likely that we will see Pandya bowling to Buttler, in what could be an exciting bout for bragging rights in the Mumbai Indians dressing room.
3. Virat Kohli vs David Willey
Kohli is in the form of his life. He has been scoring centuries across all formats. He was India’s top run scorer in 2016. He has even tasted success as captain of the ODI side. He will be key to India’s success in the T20 series, which will be the first T20 Series under Kohli. Getting him out early could massively improve the visitors’ chances of stealing a win. This is where David Willey comes into the picture. He is England’s leading seam bowler, and is capable of swinging the ball early on in the innings (as evident in his wicket of Ajinkya Rahane in the 3rd match of the ODI series). If Willey can move the ball enough to beat Kohli’s bat, England would have won half the battle.
2. Joe Root vs Yuzvendra Chahal
Joe Root has been for England what Virat Kohli is for India. He has carried the team past the finishing line in multiple matches. Dismissing Root early on will be as crucial to India’s success as dismissing Kohli would be for England’s. While Root has been effective against the fast bowlers, he hasn’t been as impressive against spinners. With India playing without Ashwin and Jadeja, Chahal will be incharge of the spin department. Leg spinners are often known to be expensive, but they have a nack of picking up wickets. Chahal has been impressive in the IPL so far and has become an integral part of the RCB franchise. We've seen Kohli use him in the powerplay to pick up crucial wickets; so it is possible that we may see him come on to bowl to Root. If the pitch is spin-friendly, this will certainly make for an interesting bout.
1. Jason Roy vs Jasprit Bumrah
Roy is one of the most explosive openers in T20 cricket today, perhaps second only to Chris Gayle. He has been in amazing form, having gotten 50+ scores in all three ODI games. If he can get England off to a good start, it will allow the middle order to come in later and dominate the game, playing as the situation demands. Therefore, it is important that the Indians pick up Roy’s wicket as early as possible. Virat Kohli will look to his lead bowler, Jasprit Bumrah to provide the breakthrough. Bumrah was the find of 2016, and is one of the best death bowlers currently playing the game. While Kohli will want to save at least 2 of Bumrah’s overs for the end, he may decide to use up the first two early on, in the hope of picking up the wicket of Jason Roy. Whatever India’s strategy, it is a given that we will get to see Roy take on Bumrah in the T20Is, and this will be a captivating encounter worth watching.
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