England Vs India T20I Cricket: The Win-Toss-Win-Match Syndrome Between No.1 And No.2 Teams!

At the start of the five-match T20I Series at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad from 12th March 2021 between England and India, the former was the No.1 team in ICC T20I rankings while the latter was in the second position, and a tough contest was very much in the offing. Interestingly too, both the teams won 7 matches each out of the 14 T20Is played so far between them. But somehow, the win-toss-win-match syndrome has been interfering with the proceedings so far. Thanks to the factors like knowing exactly what total to chase and the night dew the obvious decision on winning the toss has been to bowl first. In the first T20I Eoin Morgan's England won the toss and decided to bowl; the visitors won the match by eight wickets leading the series 1-0. In the second Virat Kohli's India won the toss and as usual decided to bowl; the hosts won the match by 7 wickets, leveling the series at 1-1. And, in the third T20I played on 16th March 2021 England won the toss again and decided to bowl yet again; the visitors won the match by 8 wickets, leading the series 2-1. With two matches remaining in the series this syndrome is showing no signs of withdrawing.


Of course, the two captains and the team managements continue to deny the toss-interplay; well, they have to do so in the larger interest of competitive cricket. Considering it in an objective manner we can only say that the batting-first teams did badly with the bat on all three occasions due to reasons not clearly known: in the first match India managed just 124, perhaps it also meant first-match blues that India has always been used to, and England did not have to exert themselves at all to overhaul; in the second, except for Jason Roy no batsman from England reached the thirties, but they managed to put up a fighting total of 164, and Indian debut opener Ishan Kishan was on a roll along with Virat Kohli who got to business from that match only to win comfortably; and in the third the top and middle orders of Indian batting totally collapsed and only captain Kohli’s rollicking 77 helped India reach 156 which England overhauled easily thanks to Buttler and Bairstow.


This Series is crucial for both the teams in view of the forthcoming ICC T20 World Cup to be played in India during October-November this year, and both the teams seem to be in an experimental mood with India, as is usual, taking it beyond the line of control. 

For India: first, playing KL Rahul as an opener despite his rusty form and dropping Shikhar Dhawan immediately after the first flop; giving IPL-2020 dasher Ishan Kishan a chance to open in the second match and after his tremendous performance getting him down to No.3 in the third match just to continue with non-performing Rahul and bring in Rohit who had not been playing due to reasons best known to the management; giving a chance to another IPL promise Suryakumar Yadav in the second match in which he could not come in to bat as his team already won and dropping him in the third match; and playing Rishabh Pant in any position that the management feels like. In the name of experiment it is hardly right to disturb performing pairs or to make the batting order totally haphazard. For England nothing has been unusual except for dropping a performing Mark Wood in the second match and taking him back in the third where he again created havoc in the Indian batting order. 

The Syndrome plus the Experimentation seems set on continuing to be the deciding factor in the remaining two matches, if proven otherwise which would be much better for the game. 


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