Can Kuldeep Yadav hit back in decider?
England skipper Eoin Morgan did not want to read too much into the way his batsmen tackled the Indian wrist spinners at Cardiff.
How much conditions matter was amply on view in the two T20I matches between India and England. It was to India's taste at Manchester and to the home team's liking in Cardiff, with the result the teams are deadlocked at one game apiece, leading to today's decider at Brightside Ground.
Much has been said about how well the England batsmen handled chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav on a small Sophia Gardens ground, after being bamboozled by him in Manchester. But the fact remains that the conditions were too much against the Kanpur lad. The small straight boundaries, especially at River End, were a big disadvantage to him and the England batsmen made the most of it.
Kuldeep must have learnt his lessons and would be itching to get back at the rivals. With England using the spin bowling machine, Merlyn, to practice, and pouring over miles and miles of video footage to decode the wily spinner, it is up to Kuldeep to stay ahead of the game. What variations he can bring will be crucial to the outcome.
The Indian batting too floundered on a pitch with extra bounce. The top four will have to be circumspect to begin with. With Jasprit Bumrah out of the first half of the tour due to injury, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar not at his best, India will need a cushion of extra runs when setting a target. "If you lose three wickets in first six overs, it is very difficult to come back in T20s. We have to ensure good start and then take it to the end," India skipper Virat Kohli said.
England skipper Eoin Morgan did not want to read too much into the way his batsmen tackled the Indian wrist spinners at Cardiff. "They are quality spinners and they will come back strong. And if the conditions suit them, they are more likely to succeed," was his candid response. The team winning the decider will undoubtedly carry the momentum into the three-match ODI series, to be played from June 12.
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