Virat Kohli’s maiden game as India’s captain in the shortest format in front of a packed Kanpur crowd on Republic Day Thursday (January 26) was marked by England’s intelligent usage of slower balls.
With the game starting at 4.30 pm to negate the effect of the dew, England used the conditions well after winning the toss to restrict India to 147 for 7 and set up a seven-wicket win in Green Park Stadium’s first-ever Twenty20 International.
Before this game, India had defended a sub-150 score at home just once – in that famous game against Bangladesh in the World T20 in Bangalore last year. England’s batsmen, led by Eoin Morgan’s 38-ball 51 and his third-wicket stand of 83 with Joe Root (46 not out), ensured that status quo was maintained. England cantered to 148 for 3 in 18.1 overs
Opening the batting in a T20I for the first time since November 2012, Kohli started with a back foot punch off Tymal Mills to the backward point fence. KL Rahul too played a similar shot off a delivery going away from him before the left-arm seamer cut the angle by coming from around the wicket.
Having spotted a way to keep a check on the run-flow, Morgan asked his bowlers to bowl into the body, take the pace off the ball, cut out the boundary balls and not experiment much. Mills, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali deserve all the credit for executing the plan to perfection.
England’s first breakthrough came in the fifth over when Jordan surprised Rahul with a short ball and had him caught at short fine-leg.
Even though Suresh Raina, batting at No. 3 for the first time since October 2013 in his comeback game, hit two fours off Plunkett in the last Power Play over, the attack-minded Kohli was denied a boundary for ten balls at a stretch.
Moeen benefitted from it off his first ball of the match when Morgan caught Kohli’s flick at short midwicket to send the Indian captain back for 29.
With the main wicket claimed, England continued to play on India’s patience. The batsmen tried to manufacture shots, but just did not know how to score big off the slower balls. So, every time there was some pace on the ball, they became desperate.
Yuvraj Singh was early on the pull when Plunkett came back for his second spell, only to be caught spectacularly by a running Adil Rashid, who did not bowl, at long-leg just inches above the ground.
Raina, who made 34 but hardly looked convincing with his movements, missed a yorker on leg-stump from Stokes to be bowled, and Manish Pandey played Moeen across the line to be trapped in front of the stumps.
With the score 98 for 5 in 13.2 overs, it was all on Mahendra Singh Dhoni to take India to a respectable total. He dominated the sixth and seventh-wicket partnerships respectively with Hardik Pandya and Parveez Rasool, the debutant, but it hardly altered the innings run-rate. He waited till the final over before opening up, and even though Jordan conceded 12 runs, England remained on top.
Ashish Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah opened the bowling, and their pace worked favourably for Jason Roy and Sam Billings. England raced to 36 in the first three overs, with Bumrah conceding 20 to Billings in the second over.
With the game running away from Kohli’s grasp, Yuzvendra Chahal, who has been his go-to spinner at Royal Challengers Bangalore, was introduced in the fourth over. Right on cue, Chahal struck twice. Roy played on to a ball that kept low, and Billings failed to reach the pitch of a googly to lose his stumps.
The artificial excitement created by the twin-wicket over electrified the atmosphere, but the opening partnership of 42 in 3.2 overs had put England way ahead. Root and Morgan had all the time to play out Chahal and Rasool, and take calculated risks between rotating strike.
England were 64 for 2 in ten overs when Chahal returned for his second spell. Nothing miraculous happened on this occasion as Root and Morgan took him for 12 runs.
After Rasool had Morgan caught by Raina for his maiden scalp, Root and Stokes completed the job through an unbroken 22-run stand. The only excitement for the home fans during that phase came when Bumrah bowled Root twice off two balls – first off a no-ball and then off the subsequent free-hit.
Source : www.wisdenindia.com
- Jan 15, Tue