Manchester T20 to kickstart limited-overs blockbuster


Wrist-spin and powerplay overs remain key in what can be termed as a high-octane series between England and India

And so we have arrived at the cricketing summer’s main event. With all due respect to Pakistan and Australia, the upcoming T20I, ODI and Test series against India has always been the most enticing part of this season’s schedule and given the relative strengths of both England and India, the white-ball matches between these two teams are set to be blockbuster viewing.

The first of eleven encounters across three formats begins on Tuesday (July 3) with a T20I at Old Trafford before two more short format games in Cardiff and Bristol. England’s strong recent showings against Australia and India’s remarkable strength in depth in T20 cricket, driven by the IPL behemoth, means the expectation is for some high-quality, high-octane cricket.

All the ingredients are there. In Virat Kohli and Jos Buttler, there is a match-up of two of the most destructive batsmen in the world game while these are probably the two best batting line-ups in limited overs cricket right now. Both bowling attacks have pace, skill and spin – although India’s has the stronger pedigree in T20 cricket – while there shouldn’t be too much to choose between them in the fielding stakes either.


Both teams are in good form too. England have just defeated Australia five-nil in the ODI series and also emerged victorious in a one-off T20I while India, ranked number two in the world in the shortest format, have just routed Ireland twice to make that six successive T20I victories in all. England have fond recent memories of Old Trafford having narrowly beaten Australia there in an ODI last week, thanks to a genius hundred from Buttler.

This is a strong looking Indian party and after giving everyone a good run in Ireland, picking a final eleven is not going to be easy for Kohli and the team’s management. There is, however, little doubt that India have more depth and experience in this format than England who are missing the injured pair Ben Stokes and Tom Curran and the rested Mark Wood, all three of whom played in this season’s IPL.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect across the series will be how England handle India’s spin twins of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzi Chahal. The pair, who are the two leading wicket-takers in T20I cricket since the last World T20, should pose more problems to a stellar home batting line-up than Australia’s depleted bowling attack managed but the wrist-spinners could find things tough going in Manchester. Traditionally, the slower men struggle in T20s at Old Trafford, averaging almost double that of seamers.

The last time the two teams met in T20Is, in India in early 2017, Kohli’s team emerged victorious, winning the three-match series 2-1. The overall head-to-head record between the two teams favours England, however, with six victories coming from their eleven games against India but given the relative scarcity of T20Is and the resulting difficulty in building patterns of play and confidence, that arguably matters little.

Perhaps the only thing that will distract from the clash will be the football World Cup with England playing Colombia in Moscow in the first knock-out round of the tournament on the same evening. Kick-off is 7pm UK time which should be just as the second innings is set to begin. England’s supporters will be hoping for a double celebration.

When: Tuesday July 3, 2018. 5:30pm UK time.
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester.

What to expect: It’s set to be another scorcher for the match – England is enjoying a prolonged and very welcome heatwave at the moment – and the pitch should be hard and true and good for batting, unlike the slow surface which hosted the fifth ODI against Australia.


Team News
England are likely to stick to the same team which beat Australia at Edgbaston last week although captain Eoin Morgan has confirmed he will look to experiment throughout the three matches as he looks ahead to the next World T20. Ben Stokes and Tom Curran are not fit for this match but could come into contention for the latter two games which will give Morgan more options.

Without the rested Mark Wood, Chris Jordan, David Willey and Liam Plunkett should make up the seam attack in the final eleven in Manchester as they did in Birmingham with Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali supplying the spin. Joe Root, despite some scrutiny over his place in the side and the inclusion of Dawid Malan in the squad as injury cover for Tom Curran, will keep his slot in the middle order.

Probable XI: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Liam Plunkett, David Willey, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid.

Umesh Yadav was the biggest positive this year for the IPL team that Virat Kohli leads, and is likely to edge Siddarth Kaul to the fast-bowler’s spot left vacant by the injured Jasprit Bumrah. Umesh’s ability to trouble the batsmen with pace in the powerplay overs could be a big asset against this England side. Kaul, with his variations, seems like a more all-round option, but Umesh is likely to get the nod at the start. The first T20I might be too soon for Deepak Chahar, even if he is the man India are looking for, as he’s scheduled to join up with the squad only after India A’s tri-series final, being played at Kennington Oval in London on Monday (02 July).
The middle-order around MS Dhoni at 5 also seems uncertain. India have three options in Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik for potentially two spots – No.4 and No. 6 or 7 – with Hardik Pandya also being a definite starter as one of the finishers.

Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Manish Pandey/Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav


What they said:

“We believe in our abilities as a team, we have a lot of T20 experience, we have just come off the IPL and coupe of games against Ireland as well where the team has looked great. Obviously, in T20 cricket the wickets are going to be something that provides entertainment to the crowd, so there’s no one team that has an advantage in this format.” – Virat Kohli isn’t in the mood for picking favourites for the T20Is.

“I think our experience of playing in the IPL is of benefit to us. It exposes our players to the biggest competition in the world.We had 9 picked up in the auction, eventually 13 going with replacement players, which is the most we’ve ever had. It’s great experience and exposure for our players, but it also shows where we are at as a team.” – Eoin Morgan on the advantages of IPL for England players.

Shared News | Last updated on Mon, 02 Jul, 2018, 09:29 PM