Bengaluru, Jan 31 (IANS) With the three-match T20I series squared at 1-1, the final game at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Wednesday promises to be an exciting contest with India aiming to pocket another series win while England will be hoping to end their lacklustre tour on a high.
After a poor batting display in both the previous games, all eyes will be on local boys Lokesh Rahul, and Virat Kohli (captain of the Indian Premier League side — Royal Challengers Bangalore) to give a strong start to the hosts.
Not only the opening pair, the onus of piling up a good score will also lie on the famed middle order comprising Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, with youngster Manish Pandey providing the momentum lower down.
So far, India’s middle order has failed to click as a unit in both the games, with England seizing the advantage to restrict the hosts to below par scores.
But with the game being the last limited overs outing before the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy in June, Kohli may also want to test the bench by including the hard-hitting Rishabh Pant and Mandeep Singh in the third game.
India managed to win the second game, thanks to the last over heroics of medium pacer Jasprit Bumrah but with the dry and flat deck at the Chinnaswamy Stadium promising to be a run-feast, the ICC No.2-ranked side’s batsmen cannot afford to let the opportunity slip here.
Not only Bumrah, but the old warhorse Ashish Nehra (3/28) also gave the hosts a dream start in the Nagpur tie.
India will once again hope for a great start from Bumrah and Nehra with the spinners — Amit Mishra, Yuzvendra Chahal and part-timer Raina — putting the brakes on the scoring rate and getting the breakthroughs in the middle overs.
On the other hand, the visitors have shown their intent by clinching the first T20I and would eye another victory to end their dismal tour on a winning note.
England’s batting will once again revolve around the likes of Joe Root, skipper Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes and the opening duo of Jason Roy and Sam Billings.
So far, No.4-ranked England have preferred to chase in both the games and with a long batting line-up, the visitors may once again go with the same strategy.
England’s bowlers have been quite effective in the shortest version and it will be interesting to see how they frustrate the strong Indian line-up in a batting-friendly track at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Having played for the RCB, pacer Chris Jordan will be well-acquainted with the track and will once again be Morgan’s go-to option with the likes of Tymal Mills, Liam Plunkett and all-rounder Stokes. Moeen Ali has been quite handy with his off-spinners.
India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Lokesh Rahul, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Rishabh Pant, Mandeep Singh, Manish Pandey, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Parvez Rasool, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya.
England: Eoin Morgan (Captain), Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Jos Buttler (wk), Liam Plunkett, Ben Stokes, Tymal Mills, Chris Jordan, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings,
Liam Dawson, Alex Hales , Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, David Willey.