India lost the toss, later lost the plot in the early overs to hand over the advantage early on to the visitors - England and even a 67 from Iyer didn’t change the course of the proceedings. England, meanwhile, just stuck to their approach, slaughtered India with their plans - with the bat and ball.
India’s uber-aggressive approach gone rogue
“I think this series, we would play with more freedom and employ a different style,” said Virat Kohli in the pre-match press conference and boy-oh-boy, did they not play with more freedom, probably more than even expected. The first two overs in the Narendra Modi Stadium were nothing short of breathtaking cricket, raw pace from Jofra Archer and immaculate skills from Adil Rashid.
Up against KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan, who really walked with an uber-aggressive approach, as seen when Rahul tried slashing Archer to the off-side boundary. Now if that was not it, Virat Kohli knocked it straight into the hands of the mid-off fielder, which put India in big trouble. Barring the crazy-batted Rishabh Pant, India’s new approach really went rogue, as they even lost Shikhar Dhawan, who failed to capitalise on the chances, with a 12-ball 4.
4, 1, 0 - not quite the right tale painted by the Indian top-order in their new approach for the entire series. While the approach and the intent were true to nature, the execution went horribly wrong for them on the night. And probably, India weren’t even ready for the experiment - having picked four anchors in the top-four.
What’s up England, you too new approach?
Well, we all did really think it was India, who walked out with a new approach, didn’t we? As it turned out, England and their skipper Eoin Morgan too brought out a new approach - opening the bowling with Adil Rashid. Against KL Rahul, who has in the past struggled against leg-spinners. Not only did he cut out the room against Rahul but also upped a notch against Dhawan with his line. And then there was Jofra Archer, who really increased the pace-o-meters, with the wicket of KL Rahul. Before this series, the leg-spinner had only opened the bowling once in his T20I career.
Not just that, the bowling switch from there on - to give the ball to Mark Wood and Chris Jordan - who really stopped the momentum which was building. They not only beat Pant for pace but also defeated Shikhar Dhawan with the raw-pace, which the left-hander had no clue whatsoever. That didn’t stop there, with the introduction of Ben Stokes, England also saw the back of Pant, which really stopped the Indian momentum and slowed down the innings dramatically.
Shreyas Iyer doesn’t quite talk, he orchestrates!
A lot of talk has certainly surrounded Shreyas Iyer, at No.4, 5 or whatever. His place in the Indian setup was questionable, perhaps more because of Suryakumar Yadav’s versatility than Shreyas Iyer’s form. But as it turned out, Indian management had their faith in the Mumbaikar, one over the other and he certainly answered in prime style. He didn’t stay there, hitting the risky shot early on, never did in fact, throughout the innings. His innings was what is articulated as - calm, composed and more importantly, eloquent. When the entire team around him went for the kill, he was silently killing it, in the middle.
Every pace delivery was met with an intelligent shot and every slower delivery with singles and doubles, probably India’s best batsman on the night, who read the conditions perfectly. And he didn’t have the one-shift approach, just slogging but had a pretty intelligent plan - play the loose delivery, the right one in the slot to be put away. The entire world against him - Shreyas Iyer doesn’t just respond, he just walks up and demands respect and silence for the people who doubted his abilities. More importantly, if his today’s knock is looked at - a 48-ball 67, where would Suryakumar Yadav feature?
Indian spinners never arrived at the party
If England had built their side like a hot-wheels, with raw pace and incredible consistency, India had built their bowling to puzzle England with spin, mystery and all the elements that are surrounded with their spinners. However, as it turned out, it was a ploy that didn’t work, not even in Ahmedabad, not even in the ground, where spinners took 19 out of the 20 wickets, not even one bit. Against Jason Roy, it has been a well-known ploy to start with a leg-spinner but as Arya Stark says, not today, not anymore.
He not only saw the cricket ball as well as a football, he swerved it, bent it, which would have even made David Beckham proud. All those talks of him not crossing the 25-run mark, struggling with form, Roy hit the spinners right on the track, some-even say that he played spinners better than the Test team. And Chahal’s first over was just a start of it - with 11 runs, where Roy really took on the leggie. If you think Chahal had a torrid night, Buttler ensured Axar had one as well. Again, again and yet again, Indian spinners had a tough time, they didn’t even arrive at the part, unlike the English pace counter-parts, who not only were there but they DOMINATED.