India vs England 2020-21, 1st T20I preview: India aims to continue winning momentum
India and England switch gears from the longest format to the shortest format. As the sides aim to draw first blood in the opening Twenty20 International, India would eye clean sweep in the entire series to rise to the top spot in the ICC T20I Rankings and displace England.
Team India displayed some excellent cricket to tame England in the just-concluded four-Test series. Meanwhile, both would now switch focus to the limited-overs sector as the five-match Twenty20 International series's opening game would be held at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday.
Besides the game, the series would be of utmost importance for both sides, as India eyes the top spot in the ICC T20I Rankings and would aim for a 5-0 clean sweep, while England would look to prove why it is the number one ranked team in the format. In the same light, we present the match preview for this exciting clash.
Considering the current form, the momentum is clearly with India as of now. Coming off a prolific outing in the Tests, India would aim to carry the same energy into the T20Is. Furthermore, India is unbeaten in its previous seven T20I series, as it would aim for its record eighth series win, having last tamed Australia, Down Under.
As for England, although it might have lost the Tests, T20Is are a different ball game. Furthermore, being the number one team is a plus. Also, it is unbeaten in its last eight T20I series, while its previous series loss happened to be against India in 2018, which just might put it under pressure again.
Team composition and combination
As for the teams, India has a batting-heavy squad, with 12 batsmen, while it also has 11 bowlers. While bowling has been its strength of late, skipper Virat Kohli might just have a selection headache in the batting department, especially for the opening slot between Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul.
Meanwhile, England, too, has a batting-heavy side. Clearly, batting has been an utter letdown for the side of late, while its bowling has relatively been better. With an unsettled top-order, skipper Eoin Morgan will have a headache, as well as a task in hand. Furthermore, opener Jason Roy would desperately need to fire.
Team India has a couple of injury concerns. While uncapped spinner Varun Chakravarthy has failed to clear the fitness test, pacer T Natarajan is also recovering from an undisclosed injury and is likely to be left out on Friday. As for England, pacer Jofra Archer is nursing an elbow injury and is most likely to miss out on the entire series.
Considering the sides' head-on clashes, the sides have clashed on 14 occasions, with both winning seven apiece. In India, the sides have played each other on six occasions, with both winning three each. Meanwhile, this would be their first T20I clash in Ahmedabad.
Weather and pitch report
The weather in Ahmedabad would be hot, with the temperature likely to be around 37 degrees. As for the track, it could be slow, but high-scoring. Any total of about 180-190 would be highly competitive.
(Image courtesy: BCCI)
India: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal and Navdeep Saini.
England: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid.
Batsmen: Pandya, Rohit, Morgan- Rohit's brilliant form would allow him to give the right start, while Pandya's explosiveness can prove vital in the death and Morgan's prolificness makes him fit to consolidate the middle-order.
Wicketkeepers: Pant & Rahul- Rahul's brilliant T20 form is sure to make him the perfect opening partner for Rohit, while Pant can slog in the middle-overs and death, besides being decent with the gloves.
All-rounders: Patel, Moeen, Stokes- Patel is a no-brainer here, considering this being his home ground and how effective he was with the spin in the Tests. Moeen, too, fits similarly as Patel, while he can go big with the bat when needed. Meanwhile, Stokes also is a must-have here, owing to his effectiveness across departments.
Bowlers: Chahal, Bhuvneshwar, Rashid- Chahal is a no-brainer here again, since he is India's most effective spinners in the format of late, while Adil Rashid can support him in the department as well. Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar's natural swing is sure to trouble the batsmen.
Date and day: March 12, 2021 (Friday)
Venue: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
Time: 7 PM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 Hindi (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Hotstar