Before the hustle and bustle of the ODI series, the ongoing T20I series has laid down the marker for the level of competitiveness that we will see in the English summer. While England's batting unit struggled in Manchester, they made a stunning comeback in Cardiff and India will be wary of that.
Rohit Sharma: The Rohit Sharma-Shikhar Dhawan opening combination needs only 38 more runs to overtake David Warner and Shane Watson's record of most number of runs scored by an opening pair - 1154 - in T20 Internationals. On the other hand, Rohit is just 14 runs away from becoming the second Indian after Virat Kohli to score 2000 T20I runs. While he has been largely inconsistent recently, he needs to find his groove at the earliest for the betterment of the team.
Shikhar Dhawan: The pair of Rohit and Dhawan has been immense for the team over the years, but if the recent performances are anything to go by, they blow hot and cold. Considering England is going to adopt the same short ball strategy again, they need to deliver a strong one in Bristol to re-establish their authority. By the way, Dhawan has a very good record in the country and can take motivation from the same.
KL Rahul: After a swashbuckling century at Old Trafford, Rahul failed to contribute much in the Cardiff T20I. However, he will have an opportunity to prove that he can be consistent enough at the position and can score runs immensely.
Virat Kohli: Virat Kohli’s experiment of dropping himself down to No. 4 didn’t make a lot of difference to his batting as he scored a useful 47 runs off 38 balls on a difficult wicket. However, today, he will have to take a larger responsibility so as to ensure that the team will have a defendable score on board.
Suresh Raina: The Chennai Super Kings vice-captain was the third-highest scorer for India in Cardiff, and has so far done enough to get the nod ahead of Dinesh Karthik and Krunal Pandya. But, considering England is going to stick to their short ball strategy once again, Raina must be careful in his approach.
MS Dhoni: After leading Chennai Super Kings to their third IPL crown in May, Dhoni, who had his best season as a batsman, played
Hardik Pandya: The all-rounder has enjoyed a productive series so far and surprisingly, he has been better with the ball. While he hasn’t gotten more of a chance to bat, he has it in him to be a serious stroke-maker in England, because of his cross-batted strokes.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: After brilliant first three overs, Bhuvneshwar Kumar failed to defend 12 runs in the last over which cost India the game. However, he is too good a player to be written off and one good match can bring his confidence back again.
Umesh Yadav: The Vidarbha pacer continued his Ireland performance and conceded only 21 runs in his four overs in the first game. He has become a powerful asset for the team in the powerplay and his full-length balls troubled the English batsmen last time. In the absence of Bumrah, he will again have to be at the fiery best.
Kuldeep Yadav: The combination of Kuldeep’s slow, loopy pace and unexpected direction of spin was too much for England’s middle order in the first match, but in the second game, Alex Hales hit two sixes to disrupt his rhythm. And if the chinaman bowler continues his magic, there will be no place where England can hide.
Yuzvendra Chahal: After a chastening first match, Chahal responded brilliantly in the second match, conceding just 28 runs and picked up the wicket of Joe Root. Though he couldn’t turn the game on the head, he will still be a threat for the English team today thanks to his ability to bowl with more variations.
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