India’s facile win over England in the first T20 international will have given them some sense of retribution at the humiliation they suffered in
the Test series. If they carry on in the same vein then they can win the second game also, and thereby give themselves a chance of topping the
rankings if they then go on to beat Pakistan in the two T20 games scheduled just after the England games.
That of course is a bridge they have to cross later on and they will want to focus solely on the current challenge of England. England looked as if they would post a big total. They got off to a terrific start, despite losing Lumb early. Lumb was man of the match in the Champions League finals and is a dangerous batsman, so getting his wicket early was a big breakthrough.
Ashwin with his T20 bowling style was terrific to begin with and Dhoni gave him three overs which pegged England back. Hales and Wright have been quite prolific in this form of the game and their partnership and the running between the wickets was putting pressure on the Indians.
The Indians had fresher and younger legs as well as players keen on making the selectors take notice, and so the fielding was on par with international standards. A fielding line-up of Yuvraj, Raina, Kohli, Jadeja and Rahane is a delight to watch and they saved many a boundary and lifted the bowler’s spirits up with their energy.
Dinda and Awana have good arms so they too make a good contribution in the deep and Gambhir is a great trier. The attitude was so different from the just concluded Tests where the fielding was pathetic to say the least.
Dhoni has not been afraid to make quick changes in the shorter format of the game and he brought Yuvraj on, and the left-hander slowing the pace down made it hard for the batsman to get the pace off the pitch that they wanted for the big shots. It was refreshing to see Dhoni bring proactive and not wait for things to happen as he seems to do in Test cricket and those three big wickets by Yuvraj meant England had lost their major big-hitters before the so called slog overs.
Jos Butler did connect handsomely to give England a fighting total, but when the Indian batting is on song then not much can disturb them. England would have felt they were perhaps 15 to 20 runs shorter than they should have been looking at the quick start they had got.
India’s reply also was electric with Rahane playing two superb shots for maximum, but then he threw it away with a needless shot as did Gambhir. There was just a bit of panic before Yuvraj showed why he is such a dangerous player in this form of the game and he brought the asking rate to a manageable level.
Raina and Dhoni are the coolest of players even when the asking rate is in double figures and they ensured that there were no alarms by playing risk free cricket and at the same time hitting some lovely shots.
The win will take some pressure of the beleaguered Indian team, but they know that the only way to get back into the good books of the Indian fans is by winning all the matches coming up over the next fortnight or so.