India staked claim in their tour of England after pocketing the three-match T20I series 2-1 in supreme fashion. After their earlier whitewash over Ireland last month, things are looking extremely positive for Virat Kohli’s side ahead of the ODIs.
On Sunday, it was ‘Hitman’ Rohit Sharma, who made a stunning unbeaten 100, to help the visitors beat England by seven wickets in the third and final match. England managed only 87 runs from the final 10 overs to post 198-8 in Bristol, as Jason Roy’s 31-ball 67 got them the early initiative. But Indian batsmen kept their heads cool as Rohit shared an 89-run stand with Kohli and accelerated in the final overs along with Hardik Pandya, to close out the match in 18.4 overs.
The 2-1 series win saw several Indian cricketers come out on top in the three games as they cashed in on pivotal moments. It was another feather in the cap for the Indian side, who notched their 6th successive T20I series win.
Here are the things we learned from India’s series victory
Collective batting performances a strength
Perhaps the most positive factor for India was the contribution from the batting order. Rohit Sharma played two vital innings that also included a ton. KL Rahul came good in the number three position and applied himself well. Both these players showed the positive frame of mind and the willingness to bat for long periods.
The duo made sure that, when they got to the big scores, they convert the same into hundreds and play until the end. The likes of MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina were presented with limited opportunities to bat but gave a decisive account of themselves in their lone innings respectively.
Hardik Pandya is a real deal
Hardik has shown that he is transforming himself into one of the best all-rounders of the game. He had a massive impact in this series and proved once again on why he is a sheer match-winner.
The final T20I gave an indication of the same. 4 wickets and a whirlwind knock of 33*, that saw him hitting a six to win the game, gives us the picture of a player knowing what to do with his game.
His bowling too has improved considerably and, being the fifth bowler, he has made sure he ticks off the right boxes. He picked a total of 6 wickets and remained unbeaten twice.
Kohli decisive in his approach
Kohli needs to be lauded for being consistent with the bat and making sure he started the tour on a positive note. He must have missed out on a fifty, but his runs in the middle-order in all three games gave India the cushion to build on. He scored 110 runs in three games.
The approach in the 2nd T20I was notable, after India being in a spot of bother. His steadying the ship in a difficult time was vital. Though India lost that match, they at least gave England the fight.
Moreover, Kohli’s handling of the bowlers and making key decisions on the field was a massive factor for India’s victory. He also became the 1st Indian to cross 2000-run mark in T20Is in the first match.
Umesh Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal the real gainers
Umesh showed his prowess in picking key English wickets and turning the tables for Kohli’s side. He bowled with a lot of heart and his pace was consistent. 5 wickets from three matches will give him the confidence going forward. He stepped up in Jasprit Bumrah’s absence and was ably backed by Kohli.
Meanwhile, the wrist spinners too performed to their abilities. If Kuldeep Yadav bamboozled England in the first game with a maiden five-for, credit should be given to Yuzvendra Chahal for keeping things simple and tight across the series. Not many wickets to show, but Chahal was consistent and didn’t give a lot away. Interestingly, this was his first series in England.
England miss out on key situations
England needed the likes of Jason Roy and Jos Buttler to get the hundreds after the duo got to starts, but that did not happen. Roy, in particular, was blatant in his stroke play in the third game (67) and if he could have stayed longer, one would have seen England post a score in excess of 220.
Having said that, the hosts needed something more like the innings of Alex Hales’ match-winning fifty in the 2nd T20I. In both the 1st and 3rd T20I, England’s middle-order couldn’t quite stand tall and make the decisive scores. They had the platform to really set up something big, but they missed out on key situations. Their fight back against Kuldeep in the 2nd T20I was superb, but overall their batting lacked the composure and steel.