Brett’s watch list: Possible Man of the Match contenders for 2nd India-England T20I
After a demoralising eight-wicket defeat against England in the first T20 International, the Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team will look to bounce back in the second T20I of the five-match series at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera on Sunday.
Apart from Shreyas Iyer, who offered some resistance from one end, the rest of the famed Indian batting line-up fell apart. Rishabh Pant (21) and Hardik Pandya (19) were the only others to get to double figures.
I must admit I was a little bit surprised to see Rohit Sharma being rested for the first two T20Is against the world’s top-ranked T20I team.
Both India and England are eyeing this five-match series to rectify their mistakes and form a perfect combination ahead of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in India in October-November this year.
While England dominated India in all three departments in the first T20I, I expect the Men in Blue to make a strong comeback, just like they did in the Test series.
Here are four names who I think can put in a Man of the Match performance in the second T20I.
Shreyas Iyer who usually comes at number 4, batted a position down as the team management decided to promote Rishabh Pant ahead of him in the first fixture. The 26-year-old’s 48-ball 67 helped his side post a respectable total of 124/7 after Team India’s horrible top-order collapse. It was undoubtedly one of Iyer’s best innings in the shortest format of the game. I expect him to continue his good form in the second T20I as well.
Chasing a modest 125 runs in the first T20I, England opener Jason Roy slammed a quick-fire 32-ball 49 to guide the visitors to a comfortable win. This impressive knock kind of ended a personally below-par 12-month period in international cricket for the 30-year-old. Roy and Jos Buttler form one of the most destructive opening pairs in world cricket at the moment and I expect Roy to play an important role in the upcoming T20I in Motera.
It felt great to see Bhuvneshwar Kumar return to the Indian limited-overs set-up after more than a year. With Team India missing the services of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami for the England T20Is, Kumar is the leader of the attack. Virat Kohli and the Indian team management will hope Bhuvneshwar returns to his very best ahead of the World T20. As there was assistance for the pacers in the first T20I in Motera, I’m hoping Bhuvi can pick some early wickets to put some pressure on England in the second T20I.
England pacer Jofra Archer was the wrecker-in-chief for the visitors as he helped his side restrict India to a below-par total in the first T20I. As a former fast bowler, I enjoy pacers bowling at a rapid pace and troubling the batters. Archer is someone I relish watching, the way he runs in, to the likes of Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant tells you he relishes the challenge as well. England will certainly hope that their pace spearhead can continue his good form in the upcoming T20I.