England vs India: First T20I Preview

Batsman plays shot off back foot

India get their tour of England underway with three T20 Internationals, the first of which will be played at Old Trafford on 3 July. 

England will be expecting a definite increase in the intensity of their white ball clashes as they welcome Virat Kohli's India for a three-match T20I series that gets underway at Old Trafford in Manchester on Tuesday after running roughshod over a demoralized Australia for the last few weeks.

India meanwhile tuned up for the series with a pair of emphatic victories over Ireland at Malahide with the only real negative being an injury to star quick Jasprit Bumrah who will miss the entire T20I series.

England v India  | Tuesday, 3 July | Old Trafford, Manchester | 18:30 

To Win Match 
England 72/100
Tie 35/1
India 23/20 

England arrested a poor run of T20I form by beating Australia at Edgbaston on June 27 but will know that in India, they face an opponent bristling with confidence and sporting a batting lineup that will be able to match the trademark aggression of the Three Lions.

A side strain has ruled fast bowler Tom Curran out of the running for the first T20I with England opting to call up a batsman, in Dawid Malan, as cover with plenty of pace options in their squad.

England's decision to use Jos Buttler as an opener for the match against Australia paid off with the in-form wicketkeeper-batsman hitting 61 from the top of the batting card and he will have plenty of back up in the form of red-hot top order batsmen Jason Roy, Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow.

In fact, England's biggest headache might be exactly what order to send their big guns into the fray against the tourists, with Joe Root and Eoin Morgan likely to be held back unless wickets tumble early on.

The home side will be keen to iron out some issues with their bowling lineup where they are less certain who makes the best XI. Sam Curran and Jake Ball are the two seamers likely to miss out after strong recent displays from Chris Jordan, David Willey and Liam Plunkett.

England are yet to make a decision about the participation of Ben Stokes in this series but he has not been named in the squad despite training with the side and will not play in Manchester.

One of the keys to success against India will be the performances of spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid who troubled Australia but will likely find the tourists more adept against the turning ball.

England are fractionally ahead when it comes to head to head clashes in the shortest format winning six of the eleven contests between the nations since they first met in 2007.

Skipper Kohli has already laid out India's intention to experiment with the batting order which may give England an opening to exploit but may also pay rich dividends for the tourists who are blessed with a versatile batting lineup

Kohli did not get going in the series against Ireland being dismissed early in both matches having not played any cricket since his Royal Challengers Bangalore were eliminated from the IPL in late May.

That won't concern the visitors too much though with Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul and Suresh Raina all notching fifties across the two matches in Dublin.

The loss of a player of the caliber of Jasprit Bumrah will be tricky for India to deal with especially when faced with an England side full of aggressive top order batsmen likely to take on the new ball.

India's trump card with the ball will most likely be left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav who has troubled almost every opponent he has come up against in his T20I career so far. India's other frontline spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal, could be the one England target in the middle overs as the Proteas did with some success earlier this year but he is the kind of bowler who will relish the challenge.

Kohli's desire to experiment with different lineups means that their starting XI for Old Trafford is tough to predict with Krunal Pandya and Deepak Chahar possibly in line to make their T20I debuts.

It is unclear if India will be able to accommodate both Pandya brothers in the same XI but both are able finishers with bat in hand despite their contrasting styles, Krunal being the innovator while Hardik is more of a clean striker of the ball.

Like England, India would probably like to name a team of thirteen such is the depth of their quality but the challenge will be maintaining the right kind of balance to the side in aline conditions.

Verdict: England 72/100
Playing at home should give England enough of an advantage to be the favourites for this clash but they will have to play exceedingly well to get one over on Kohli and company in Manchester. 

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Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets.

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