Preview: India, England equally poised for series clincher

England host India in the last T20 International of the three-match series at the County Ground in Bristol on Sunday. Here’s a look at what all to expect.

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An unbeaten 58 off 41 balls from Alex Hales paved the way for England’s victory in the second T20I, which allowed them to level the series 1-1 with India. Now with the final match of the series about to take place at Bristol, both the teams will be gearing up for the kill to clinch the trophy. Virat Kohli regained form in the last match, scoring India’s highest individual score of 47, which is a good news for the Men in Blue. The English, on the other hand, will gain confidence from the fact that they rendered India’s spin prowess slightly ineffective in the previous encounter.

Like Cardiff, India have never played a T20I at Bristol. This would have looked like an advantage for Eoin Morgan’s men, but the fact that they have never won one themselves at the same venue, keeps the stakes neutral. Also, a lot would be dependent on who wins the toss. The last two matches were won by teams batting second and hence, both the captains would want to chase the score, rather than defend it.

LAST ENCOUNTERS

India’s joint-longest winning streak of seven T20I wins were brought to an end on Friday. But the Men in Blue will definitely not allow that to affect their confidence. In the previous match, India’s top order crumbled, something which they need to solidify on Sunday. Also, the in-form spinners were not able to weave magic like in the first T20I. The Englishmen were on their toes and with a lesser target to chase, took their time to settle in without getting aggressive. Thus on Sunday, composure and balance would play an integral role on the field.

India’s last-five T20Is: LWWWW

INDIA

RESULT

MARGIN

vs England

Lost

5 wickets

vs England

Won

8 wickets

vs Ireland

Won

143 runs

vs Ireland

Won

76 runs

vs Bangladesh

Won

4 wickets

England’s last-five T20Is: WLWWL

ENGLAND

RESULT

MARGIN

vs India

Won

5 wickets

vs India

Lost

8 wickets

vs Australia

Won

28 runs

vs New Zealand

Won

2 runs

vs New Zealand

Lost

12 runs

MATCH CONDITIONS

Preview: India, England equally poised for series clincher

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The temperature will be around 29 degrees with conditions predicted to be quite sunny. The track will be slow and bouncy, both of which caters more to the bowlers than the batsmen. We may be up for another low-scoring encounter like Cardiff. However, the bounce on the pitch will be a challenge for the spinners on either squad. With the track not exactly proving to be a batsman paradise, the top order has to rely on their innate talent and efficiency to pile runs on the scoreboard.

PROBABLE XI

Both the sides are most likely to field an unchanged squad. Ben Stokes is back from injury and available but England may not want to disturb their bowling combination in the lineup as the pacers have settled in well. Shikhar Dhawan’s performance as an opener has been shaky, but India will like to stick to him based on his match-winning ability. Here’s a look at the predicted squad.

Preview: India, England equally poised for series clincher

SURPRISE FACTOR

Umesh Yadav (IND): Yadav has picked up two wickets in both the matches for India, while also being economical in the mix. With Sunday’s pitch catering to bowlers, the 30-year-old would like to take maximum advantage of the bouncy track and keep the Englishmen on their toes with his fast deliveries. He wouldn’t even mind a swing in the air.

Jake Ball (ENG): Earning his T20I debut in the last match, Ball will be intent on proving the selectors right. Though the 27-year-old gave away quite a number of runs in his maiden outing, his early wicket of Rohit Sharma did manage to shake India’s intentions. In his second match, Ball would definitely be looking at getting records straight.

Words: Sportz Interactive

Images:PA

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