Indian spinners expected to weave magic against England

England clash swords with India in the second T20 International to be held at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Friday. Here we take a look at how the teams are poised.

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A stupendous Lokesh Rahul ton and an incredible Kuldeep Yadav fifer were enough to blow away England in the first T20 International between the two heavyweights at Manchester. With India taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series, England are in a do-or-die position to win the second T20I. A loss will see India getting an unsurpassable lead and eventually clinching the series.

However, England can take solace from the fact that they have a 100% T20I win record at Cardiff. This will also be India’s first match at the venue, a circumstance Eoin Morgan’s men would like to take advantage of. The hosts will also ensure that the one-match setback doesn’t deter them in their quest, as they have their recent whitewash of world champions Australia to boast of their capability.

LAST ENCOUNTERS

India are on a winning run, while England have managed to win just two of their last five, with the latest defeat coming against the Men in Blue. Jason Roy and Jos Buttler started strong in the first match but were soon stopped on their tracks by India’s bowling prowess. Except for Buttler (69), none of the other Englishmen could cross the 30-run mark. India, on the other hand, were blistering from the very start with Shikhar Dhawan’s early wicket the only setback. Rahul was at his lethal best, scoring 101* from just 54 balls. Thus, while entering the encounter, it’s safe to claim that the Indians would be higher on confidence than their English counterparts.

India’s last-five T20Is: WWWWW

INDIA

RESULT

MARGIN

vs England

Won

8 wickets

vs Ireland

Won

143 runs

vs Ireland

Won

76 runs

vs Bangladesh

Won

4 wickets

vs Bangladesh

Won

17 runs

England’s last-five T20Is: LWWLL

ENGLAND

RESULT

MARGIN

vs India

Lost

8 wickets

vs Australia

Won

28 runs

vs New Zealand

Won

2 runs

vs New Zealand

Lost

12 runs

vs Australia

Lost

7 wickets

MATCH CONDITIONS

Indian spinners expected to weave magic against England

With temperature predicted to stay around 26 degrees, the pitch will definitely turn out to be a batsman-paradise. The track is flat with an even bounce, which is sure to cater to the batsmen, but can also turn out to be a perfect hunting ground for the spinners. Both of the Indian spinners - Yuzvendra Chahal and Yadav are at the height of their form and will look to crumble their opponent. England also have their own spin arsenal in the form of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali. These two need to have their own tactics on points. However, the fact that the English have always struggled against the Indian spinners, tilts the match slightly in the favour of the visitors.

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PROBABLE XI

Both the sides are most likely to field an unchanged squad. India will not want to alter a winning combination, while England will want the starting XI to be constant. England now have a fair idea of what to expect from the on-song Indians and can turn the tables on them. Here’s a look at the predicted squad.

Indian spinners expected to weave magic against England

SURPRISE FACTOR

Hardik Pandya (IND): Hardik Pandya is slowly emerging to be India’s bankable all-rounder. Whenever in need of wickets or a winning knock at the death overs of an innings, the 24-year-old is skipper Virat Kohli’s most-trusted aid. Though he didn’t need to bat in the previous match, he displayed a decent bowling performance. With a chance to seal the series, Pandya is sure to give his all on the field.

Liam Plunkett (ENG): Plunkett did not have a favourable outing in the last match, where he failed to pick any wicket while also giving away runs on an average of 10.50. But the 33-year-old has both experience and precision on his side, which he can put to use against India when they meet at a different setting and on a different pitch. He can very well turn out to be the storm India did not see coming.

Words: Sportz Interactive

Images: PA

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