Can India pull-off a win against England to sweep T20 series?
After rebounding superbly from the Test loss to England with a convincing victory in the Twenty20 series opener, India will be keen to complete a clean sweep of the shortest format by winning the second and final game in Mumbai on Saturday.
Having started on a winning note, the hosts would be eager not to let it go out of grasp especially with the high-profile series against Pakistan to follow immediately after the conclusion of the T20 stint at the Wankhede Stadium.
India will take on Pakistan in a two-match T20 series from December 25 to be followed by a three-game ODI series.
England will also looking forward to squaring the rubber and returning home for Christmas Holidays on a high note.Though India cantered home to a win on Thursday, the home team has some issues to solve immediately in both batting and bowling to achieve their aim of a 2-0 whitewash.
Image: Indian team at a training session
Indian bowling was far from impressive in 1st T20
The beginning and death overs are still a worry for Indian bowlers with debutant Parvinder Awana, who had a poor game, and Ashok Dinda bowling too short on Thursday. Both were severely punished by the hard-hitting Alex Hales, who blitzed his way to 56 with seven fours and two sixes.
Though Dinda came back later to bowl well and take two wickets, Awana's nervousness cost him 29 runs in two overs at either end of the innings and he is expected to give way to Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Abhimanyu Mithun in the 2nd T20.Even R Ashwin, who started off well and bowled a maiden over to the left-handed Michael Lumb before taking his wicket, was carted around later to concede 33 runs. Ravindra Jadeja gave away 22 runs in three and Piyush Chawla allowed 24 runs to be taken off him in the same number of overs.
Image: R Ashwin
Yuvraj's experience came to India's aid
But for Yuvraj Singh's brilliant stint in the middle overs, when he got 3 for 19 to halt Hales and Luke Wright from running away with the game, India could have conceded 15-20 more runs.
"We got off to a fantastic start -- Alex and Luke really came together as a pair -- but from there we didn't really kick on," said England skipper Eoin Morgan.
Hales and Wright added 68 runs in quick time, thrashing the Indian bowlers, before Yuvraj turned the match around with a 3-19 spell that included both these batsmen's wickets as well as Morgan's.
In batting too, India started off brilliantly before openers Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane threw away their wickets in close succession by trying to hit big.
It was Yuvraj's experience and his ability to clear the ropes at will that helped the home country steady the innings and then surge to a comfortable victory with 13 balls to spare.The left-handed dasher smashed 38 in 21 balls to help India regain the early advantage. Then useful contributions from Virat Kohli (21), Suresh Raina, who was also needlessly run out for 26 and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (24 not out), saw the home team cross the finish line.
Image: Yuvraj Singh
It's up to Morgan and Hales to come good on Saturday
England too have their problems, the prominent among them is to find an effective spinner in the middle overs as Danny Briggs's left-arm spin was taken to the cleaners along with James Tredwell's off spin.
Stuart Meaker provided the extra pace to trouble the Indian batsmen, including Yuvraj, and Tim Bresnan was also impressive, while Wright was effective with his slow medium bowling.
Among the batsmen, Hales, who had flopped in his previous three games against India, came good on Thursday with his forthright batting. England would hope the others -- that includes their hard-hitting captain Morgan -- deliver in the last game of the first half of their visit.
The rival teams (from):
India: M.S. Dhoni (Capt.), Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun and Parvinder
England: Eoin Morgan (Capt.), James Harris, Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Jos Butler, Jade Dernbach, Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Stuart Meaker, Samit Patel, Joe Root, James Tredwell and Luke Wright.
On-field umpires: S Ravi and Vineet Kulkarni
3rd umpire: Sudhir Asnani
Match Referee: Jeff Crowe.Match starts at 7 pm (IST).