England and India will clash in the 3rd and final T20I match at Bristol to decide the winner of the series. India had won the first match at Manchester emphatically and then England made a grand comeback in the Cardiff T20I. Now everything stands square at 1-1.
Both the sides love to chase and have won their matches in the series doing so. This makes the toss the most important aspect of deciding match at Bristol. Both captains would want the cushion of knowing how much they are chasing to win the match, the series and gain the bragging rights in a long series.
With England batsmen negotiating the spin and mystery of Kuldeep by not giving him a wicket was a big factor in them beating India. For Indians, losing three wickets in the first five overs proved to be fatal for them despite heroic innings from Kohli and Dhoni.
This deciding match of the series will be won by the team that battles their demons the best. If batting first, the team putting up a big total will have a chance to defend it properly. For the team chasing, not losing many wickets in the power play will help chase down any total.
India might look to their openers giving them a good start this time while hoping that Kuldeep and Chahal have a good day. England will also hope their openers do well, to provide a platform for their bowling to do their job properly.
Whatever happens, we are in for a brilliant game of cricket between two of the best T20 sides in the world.
India have won the toss and have opted to field
Eoin Morgan: We would have looked to chase. all set for a good game though. Cardiff flew through more than we expected. We have one change. Joe Root misses out and Ben comes in. Obviously great to have Ben back.
Virat Kohli: We will bowl first. Looks like a hard wicket. There is some moisture on the wicket. You have to weigh your options. It is just about the balance of the side. A great opportunity for others. It is going to be paramount how these young players react.
India have won the toss and have opted to field
Toss is only a few ticks away. The elevens and further information on the way. "Meanwhile in a game of football, goalkeeper Ben Stokes has been beaten on the near post from a tight angle. That however, should not dictate how the rest of his evening goes." Prakash still is down with Football fever.
"Deepak Chahar to debut today." -- Prakash quite nonchalantly breaks a big news! The question is who misses out? Bhuvneshwar Kumar? Is there a niggle? Might well be. Did not see this coming for sure. For England, the quandary will be to make way for Ben Stokes. That is a no-brainer but the grey cells would work overtime to enlist the name to be dropped. Alex Hales played a significant knock and might survive the axe. Who then? Joe Root? Jake Ball? Prakash will deliver the answers but for the moment is playing his cards close to his chest.
The series is on the line and at best there is a strand of hair separating the two teams at the moment. And I feel whoever wins will just be able to toe the line and not really stamp over it. The toss will be crucial and batting second has been the norm and the mantra. That is the only advantage any team can hope for if any.
The action on the field has been intriguing and off the field has been a little spicy as well. David Willey and Bhuvneshwar Kumar did exchange a few pleasantries and the former went one step ahead and hinted at Indian bowlers not playing in the spirit of the game. India did not even pay heed to it and KL Rahul brushed aside the claims just like the treatment he meted out to the bowlers in the first game.
India after trouncing Ireland, made short work of the hosts and hardly broke a sweat in doing so to go 1-0 up. England made a quick turnaround and their local knowledge of Cardiff helped them draw level. Of course 'MERLYN' also ensured the threat of Kuldeep Yadav was negated as well. But only once is a sample too less to draw any conclusions.
"Ben Stokes has just walked out to the practice pitch on the side where David Willey and Liam Plunkett are bowling at full tilt. Peculiar ground dimensions here too. Like in Cardiff, the straight boundaries are very short and the square fence is asymmetrical. "
Our early bird at the venue - Prakash says - Hello from Bristol! A fantastic summer's day here by England standards. As expected spotted more people in India jerseys than with any form of clothing that indicates support for England outside the stadium, queuing up. A long stretch of road leading up to the main entrance to the stadium has been made off limits for vehicles. Only those walking towards the stadium can get in from there.
17:30 PM IST, 14:00 PM Local time: The inventors versus the first time conquerors. If England gifted T20 cricket to the World, India became the first World champions. And now it is a battle of two of the very best in this format. A format which is unforgiving of a single mistake. A format which has results panned out quicker than the batting of an eyelid. A format which demands brawn and brain in an equal ratio.
Preview by Prakash G:
The bigger picture of India's full tour of England was always going to be about what transpires in the ODIs and Tests. ODIs, because it gives a glimpse of where two solid contenders for the 2019 World Cup final in less than 12 months from now, stand currently. And Tests, because of the several narratives that add to the five-match contest, none better than how Virat Kohli is going to fare against his 2014 nemesis - the away swinger.
But before the teams can head to those endeavours, the T20I series has laid down the marker for the level of competitiveness that will follow. In an interesting turn of events, and scheduling, T20Is have come at the very start, and has received Kohli's stamp of approval.
England's cluelessness against Kuldeep Yadav in Manchester gave India a cruising start to the tour, but the hosts bit back. The odd dimensions at the stadium in Cardiff wrong-footed India and allowed England to equalise, even if they had to huff and puff to it. The finale in Bristol, thus, is expected to be a you-blink-I-hit affair with England now aware of dealing with spin, and India getting a chance to rectify theirs against pace and bounce.
Combination wise, the bigger worry belongs to England. In their victory, they've arrived at a conundrum. Alex Hales's fifty means Ben Stokes's reintegration into the final XI isn't going to be as easy. "He [Stokes] is obviously a fantastic player, and there will be a difficult decision to make. We've made calls like this in the past, but we hope we'll make it for the betterment of the team - and put out our strongest XI. Alex [Hales] always makes it difficult, particularly in T20 cricket. He's played a lot for us - he's one of our highest runscorers, a very experienced campaigner. An innings like that tonight makes him a pretty strong case for the next game," Eoin Morgan said in the post-match presser in Cardiff. This means the big decision might involve relegating Joe Root to the bench, if they believe Stokes is a must-have.
Root has the backing of Paul Farbrace to succeed in the format and add a new dimension to a side filled with power-hitters, but hasn't managed much in the one-off fixture against Australia and the two outings against India - his only T20Is this year. In the face of a tough chase, England also have the tendency of letting the likes of Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow bat ahead, pushing him down to No.6, where he doesn't quite fit in.
When: England vs India, 3rd T20I, July 8, 2018, 14:00 Local, 18:30 IST
Where: County Ground, Bristol
What to expect: Third successive hot match day, and another ground with shorter straighter boundaries.
Even the defeat in Cardiff shouldn't push India to shake things up already. Virat Kohli has already spoken about needing flexibility in the line-up keeping the 50-over World Cup in 2019 in mind, and the experiment of him dropping down to No. 4 should continue. Suresh Raina was the third-highest scorer in India's line-up on Friday, and has probably done enough to deny Dinesh Karthik and newcomer Krunal Pandya a chance in the T20Is.
Kuldeep Yadav was expertly kept at bay - and wicketless in the second game. The fear of being worked out was always going to be there, which even Kuldeep admitted after his heroics in Manchester. But the spinner-friendly venue at Bristol presents him with an opportunity to hit back.
Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), MS Dhoni (wk), Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav
Interestingly, Ben Stokes opened the innings for Durham in a T20 blast game against Yorkshire on Thursday, and scored a 68-ball 90 in a losing cause. There's very little chance the position from which Stokes scored his runs is going to be important to Morgan, as he is in dire need of more players who aren't vying for a spot in the top-two.
In the bowling department, Jake Ball should hold onto his place, even after a 22-run final over sullied his otherwise fantastic T20I debut.
Probable XI: Jos Buttler (wk), Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root/Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan (c), Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, David Willey, Chris Jordan, Jake Ball
Did you know?
- Rohit Sharma is 14 runs away from becoming the second Indian after Virat Kohli to score 2000 T20I runs
- If India lose the third T20I, it will be first instance of them losing a three-match bilateral T20I series. They have a 7-0 win-loss record in three-match bilateral series and have never lost the third match of such a series.
- Rohit Sharma & Shikhar Dhawan needs 38 more runs to go past the 1154 partnership runs scored by David Warner and Shane Watson to become the leading pair in T20 Internationals.
- India have won all their three previous ODIs at this venue but this will be their first appearance in a T20I here. On the other hand, England have lost both their T20Is here, the last one coming in 2011.
What they said:
"Jos [Buttler] has obviously played well with Jason in the last two games, but it's not going to happen all the time. We're going to have to devise a plan, what's our best option in the middle order as well. And I don't think we've found it yet." - Eoin Morgan on England's line-up worries.
"This [Cardiff game] was only his third match since 2012 but you can see the maturity level in the way he is bowling at the start and at the death. The start we want in the first six overs... he is giving us wickets there." - Yuzvendra Chahal on Umesh Yadav filling in for Jasprit Bumrah
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Virat Kohli(c), Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni(w), Hardik Pandya, Deepak Chahar, Umesh Yadav, Siddarth Kaul, Yuzvendra Chahal
England: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler(w), Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan(c), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Jake Ball