After being outplayed by England in all the departments in the T20I series opener, today it was India's complete domination over England in all facets of the game. India's bowling was simply outstanding especially in the powerplay and the death while Ishan and Virat made light work of the chase.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar regaining his old venom
Two balls outside off with a hint of swing to Jason Roy and Jos Buttler, facing his first delivery tries to counter swing, shuffles across only to get outfoxed by an in-swinger. Bhuvneshwar strikes, the old classical Bhuvi is back. Known for moving the ball upfront, taking new ball wickets and putting the opposition on the back foot early. He has almost been forgotten from the public memory owing to his consistent injuries. But not for nothing, Kohli was glad that Bhuvi was back as he brings the versatility needed in the format.
He can not only swing the new ball, which other pacers like Shami or Chahar can as well but also has the variations and skills to excel at the death, which is what makes him special and not to forget the bucket load of experience he has. He today excelled at the death with his yorkers and slower balls. Also, he's very handy with the bat. In the first T20I, his pace and bowling was on and off, leading to certain doubts but they perished today with his promising return.
Dawid 'Slow Starter' Malan
Dawid Malan seems to be a misfit in the English set-up given he's the only accumulator in a side full of dashers and isn't an outright match-winner. But in his T20I career, he hasn't put a foot wrong. But, there remains one issue with him and it's that he's a slow starter. Now, no issues when he makes up for it but today, he simply couldn't and ended up with 23 off 24. In the powerplay overs, where England made 44, his strike-rate was 100. And it wasn't an outlier.
His T20I strike-rate remains a poor 115.3 in the first six overs and isn't much different from his overall T20 strike-rate that is 116.9. It's the only similarity in his otherwise contrasting T20 and T20I careers. And not that he lacked intent, he tried attacking but just couldn't and unlike Roy, didn't make up for a slow start. Going forward, the left-hander would want to improve on his game in the powerplay overs given how prolific he has been otherwise.
Indian bowlers cutting away at England in the death
After a slow start in the powerplay, England were back to their best, taking on Indian bowlers, getting the big hits and making 85 runs in the middle-overs (7-15). Going into the last five overs at 129/4 with a set Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes in the middle and Sam Curran to come, 180 looked a bare minimum with Bhuvneshwar making a comeback after a long time and Shardul Thakur, who hadn’t had a good day on the field by then. But Indian bowlers perfected the art of slower deliveries and England were left huffing and puffing as they got literally no pace on a two-paced wicket.
England could make merely 35 in the last five overs and 28 in the last four, which was their second-worst in final overs of a completed innings since 2018 as per CricViz. Bhuvneshwar mixed up yorkers and slower deliveries, Pandya bowled an over full of slower balls, while Shardul, with his knuckleball, leg cutters was simply outstanding. The bowling handed over India with a big advantage as they tactically outsmarted England during the last five-over phase.
Ishan Kishan needs all the backing
Ishan Kishan had a point to prove as he was making his debut as a specialist batsman, that too at the opening position, for which there are no dearth of options for India. And the left-hander took to international cricket like a fish to water and facing Jofra Archer, was hardly hurried by his pace and bounce. He didn't do anything out of character, played his natural game and was striking at 180 in the powerplay overs. Before perishing, he made a promising 56 off 32 and paced his knock like a seasoned campaigner to throw his hat in the ring for the first-choice back-up option in the opening.
Given he's young, his game style meets India's need, and he batted fluently, showing no signs of pressure and the ability to stand out at the top-level, he needs to be backed. For a player of his style, not every game, he would be making fifties but needs to be trusted with because when he scores, he can set-up wins like he did today. Unlike Sanju Samson, who was dumped, after just a few games, India needs to show more faith in Ishan, if they have to get long term gains with X-factor young players.