Virat Kohli celebrates team's victory against England on Saturday | Photo: PTI

A mindful approach led to India's T20 series win against England

After the fourth T20, another game turned around by India's skilful seamers after England had powered themselves to a pretty decent position in the chase. 225 was a massive target, but with Buttler and Malan scoring great guns, England was on the course up until the 12th over. 

After the fourth T20, another game turned around by India’s skilful seamers after England had powered themselves to a pretty decent position in the chase. 225 was a massive target, but with Buttler and Malan scoring great guns, England was on the course up until the 12th over.

But then the turnaround happened as the trio of Bhuvneshwar, Hardik and Shardul showed great variety in their bowling. England lost four wickets in the next 20 balls, unable to keep up with the constant changes in lines, lengths and speeds, and just like that their chase unravelled.

So it’s two wins out of two as India come from behind to take the series. And what’s remarkable is that both these wins have come batting first, which isn’t the preferred option on the kind of pitch the teams were playing.

Before the series, both the teams had a proud unbeaten series record, with England having won seven and drawn one of their last eight T20I series, going back to their last tour of India in 2018, while the hosts have won six and drawn one of their last seven T20I series since Australia’s victory in February 2019. But India has put a stop to the visitor’s winning run.

How India came out of the toss dilemma?

In the first three T20s, each team that had won the toss, has chosen to bat second and won. The dew that becomes heavier as the evening wears on and makes bowling more difficult is a worry for both teams. Rival captains, Eoin Morgan and Virat Kohli, both expressed disappointment when they lost the chance to bowl first.

But how India came out of the toss as a deciding factor? The answer lies in India’s mindful approach in the last two games and England’s falling into their own trap. Kohli is bad at winning the toss to the extent that he wins only 1 toss in every 10 matches. With this in mind, India knew that they needed to score well in the first innings and put England under pressure.

Chasing is always preferred in T20s but the team which is chasing always have pressure in their mind if the target is big. While chasing a big total, if the batsman misses three balls, he tries to hit the fourth out in the stands. This is where India took advantage after getting to a big total in both the T20s.

Indian bowlers bowled slower deliveries which were not easy to hit out of the ground and the English batsmen who were trying to hit sixes after playing a few dot deliveries gave catches on the boundary. Also, Indian bowlers who bowled in the second half got to know the condition of the pitch after watching England’s bowling. This also worked in their favour.

India outperformed England in the last two matches completely with both bat and bowl. This is also because, after the first three T20s, England got carried away with the sentiment that whoever will win the toss will win the match. Also, India was looking weaker in the first three T20s.

This can be evident by the fact that India only scored 124 and 156 runs in the 1st and 3rd T20 respectively. In both the outings, they could only manage to take 2 wickets. But India worked on its shortcomings after the defeat in the third T20 match.

India gave chance to Suryakumar Yadav who played brilliantly in both the last T20s. India also left out Yujvendra Chahal, India’s ace spinner, who was not getting wickets and brought in Rahul Chahar. He did not perform very well but England surely did not know how to play shots against him.

Virat Kohli gave up his batting position in both matches. In the 4th T20, he gave a chance to Suryakumar to come on the third position which is a legendary position for the ace Indian batsman. In the 5th T20, Virat opened the batting with Rohit and stayed till the last bowl of the innings as K L Rahul was not performing well.

He was rock solid on the one end which allowed other batsmen to come and hit hard. This is why India scored magnificent 225 runs in their last outing with Virat hitting 80. Also, Virat’s opening inning allowed India to play with one more bowler which made the entire difference.

While India was making the changes in the squad, looking hyperactive on the ground and hungry for wins, England did not do much and played with the same team and strategy. Captain Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma were seen in constant discussions with each other for bowling and fielding change which was a great sign for the Indian cricket team.

India approach in the last two T20s proved that good batting and bowling with the right strategy and approach will win you matches and not the toss. With the T20 world cup coming later this year in India, with this series defeating the world’s number one T20 side, India strongly registered their presence to win the trophy.

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