India drew first blood in the T20 series with England and when the two sides meet in the second game in Cardiff on Friday evening the home side know they need to win in order to force a decider.
India will be delighted with their position and with every ray of sun the country gets during the ongoing heatwave the better their chances of a successful summer are going to get. They are here to win all three series and a victory in Cardiff will seal the first with a game to spare.
Although England were well beaten at Old Trafford there wasn’t too much of their performance that will have disappointed them apart from the way they played the Indian leg spinners. Unfortunately for them it was how they play those bowlers which is likely to decide which way these matches go so they need to come up with a plan to combat them quickly.
The other thing that will have concerned England just a touch was their token drop back to bowling short when the slog was on against them. To be fair to their bowlers it was a wonderful wicket at Old Trafford but England need to box much more clever than they did with the ball especially in the middle overs when it is doing nothing.
The Indians will be delighted with their performance in that first match and they know if they can repeat that here they will give themselves a really good chance to secure the series with a match to spare. What will give them most confidence is the fact that they had so much more to come with the bat should they have needed it in Manchester.
Virat Kohli will probably want to remind his seamers that England got away from them at both ends of the innings and challenge them to perform better here but they always know their spinners are likely to profit. Kohli should be a very satisfied captain after three wins in succession to begin their tour of this part of the world.
England don’t usually panic after a defeat but I would be surprised if the expensive form of Liam Plunkett isn’t becoming a concern at the very least. Sam Curran and Jake Ball are waiting to come into the side if England make changes.
India will want to give their squad a run out ahead of the ODI series but they are likely to wait until the series is won before they do that so unless there is a late illness or injury I’m expecting the visitors to be unchanged.
I backed India to win the opening match of the series and I haven’t seen much to sway me from doing so again. England might well play the spinners better but India had so much in hand in that first game that even if the home side are better in that area India could still have them covered.
I never feel England are truly happy playing at Cardiff. The place is rarely full and clashing with a World Cup match I’m not expecting a full house here. Those who are in may well be Indian fans and with the weather the way it is India have too much in their favour to ignore.
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