Cardiff, July 7: England skipper Eoin Morgan said the difference in conditions from the first game in Manchester worked to their advantage as they levelled the three-match Twenty20 series against India 1-1 after winning the second game.
Thanks to a quicker and bouncier pitch, India were restricted to 148 for five. Despite a poor start, the hosts were able to chase it down with two balls to spare.
Kuldeep Yadav returned 0-34 from his four overs and was rendered ineffective, after England’s pacers had reduced India to 22-3 with a short ball plan.
Conditions were different today. Kuldeep’s a very good bowler and he’ll bowl well the majority of the time. But I thought conditions at Old Trafford suited him more than conditions today. With the pace and bounce of the wicket that the seamers might have dominated a bit more, but I thought our plans were a lot clearer. We played him well, Morgan explained.
When David Willey had bowled three balls and three of them flew through, I was quite surprised that the ball carried through so much. And when it did, with the big square boundaries, it is naturally a plan that we do bowl into the wicket. But that’s a plan because it’s two-paced, not a plan because it flies through. Inevitably it ended up staying the same. That was the reason behind it (bowling short), said Morgan.
India used the conditions to good effect as well, and reduced England to 44-3 but Alex Hales anchored the innings with a sedate half-century and took them home when things got tight in the end.
He was also helped with a 18-ball 28-run cameo from Jonny Bairstow.
Alex really did play brilliantly. He’s played a lot of T20 International cricket, and he’s obviously played a lot around the world and he certainly used that tonight. Having the composure to play quite a mature innings, as he did, and then towards the end, he’s not known as a big hitter but anybody who watched the game at Trent Bridge will realize he hits the ball quite a long way, even yorkers. We had quite a lot of confidence in him, but it is very nice to get over the line, said Morgan.
If we’d had a bigger partnership up front, we might have maybe pushed it in the 16th or 17th over. But we didn’t, so it was always going to be a cagey affair when we continued to lose wickets. We played better than we did at Old Trafford. Certainly the plans we had, we committed to them a lot more. There was a lot more clarity in the shots we played I thought, he added.
Morgan was in full praise of his bowling line-up’s performance and hoped for similar conditions in Bristol. At the same time, he said that there could be changes for the series’ finale on Sunday with all-rounder Ben Stokes returning from injury.
I thought they bowled brilliantly. Certainly conditions out there surprised me quite a bit. The bounce was a lot more than we thought it was going to be. David Willey set the tone. Jake Ball on his debut bowled three really good overs. When there’s bounce like that it always presents opportunities to take wickets, or at least have chances. They did that well, and obviously Adil (Rashid) bowled well too, said the skipper.
Ben comes into the squad for the next game. He’s 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 always makes it difficult, particularly in T20 cricket. He’s played a lot for us. He’s one of our highest run-scorer, a very experienced campaigner, and an innings like that tonight makes him a pretty strong case for the next game, he signed off.