India Win T20I Cricket Series Against England: Reversing The Syndrome And On With Experiments!

Thanks to India’s non-stop experimentation we got to see a brand new opening partner, none other than India captain Virat Kohli, with Rohit Sharma, and the duo treated us to one of the most exhilarating batting displays in recent times. Rohit was the dominant partner hitting the ball all around the park in his cracker of an innings of 64 runs off 34 balls with 5 sixes and 4 fours while Kohli played the sheet anchor role perfectly, allowing Rohit go berserk. They piled up 94 runs in just the ninth over, and the momentum thus built never slowed down as Suryakumar Yadav, the sensation of the 4th T20I match, came in at no.3 and made a quickfire 32 in 17 balls. And then, the run-feast was left open to Kohli and Hardik Pandya both of whom played some incredible hits over the fence to post India’s highest ever T20 total against England, 225 runs to win for the demoralized visitors.


The match was almost sealed in favour of India, although England did try putting up a brave front with Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan hitting wild to keep up with the asking rate. However, losing the in-form Jason Roy in the very first over was a huge blow and it was too much for the duo and the following batsmen to sustain the very long chase, and they called it a day at 188/9. India won the match by 36 runs and the Paytm T20 International Cricket Series by 3-2. The highlight of India’s bowling attack was Bhubaneshwar Kumar who crafted an incredible performance of 2/15 in 4 overs with as many as 17 dot balls, and he was the rightful man-of-the-match in a game dominated by batsmen.   


We mentioned in our earlier piece about the win-toss-win-match syndrome that seemed to upset India’s cart as Kohli kept on losing the toss. However, in the crucial 4th T20I match India, after being put into bat, managed to post a competitive target of 186 runs and thanks to some inspired bowling by pacer Shardul Thakur, Hardik Pandya and a surprise inclusion of spinner Rahul Chahar England failed to chase successfully despite the dew factor that continued to torment the hosts. Therefore, the syndrome was neutralized by India and the Series was leveled. In the 5th and the decider T20I match last night Kohli lost the toss yet again, and this time it proved to be a good toss to lose because the pitch that was hard and seemed to be full of runs did prove to be so, and the rest is history.


Team India had apparently taken this series as an exercise to prepare for the T20 World Cup-2021, because throughout the five games the experiments never stopped: reserve players were tried and allowed to debut, but the respective performances never meant anything for the team management. Ishan Kishan, tried as an opener, registered a brilliant knock on debut in the second match that India won; but he was pushed to no.3 in the 3rd and dropped from the 4th match onwards. Suryakumar Yadav was also allowed to debut in the 2nd game, dropped in the 3rd and fortunately, allowed to play at no.3 position in the 4th and 5th games. However, the KL Rahul-restoration project that was a contradiction in this experimentation scheme continued unabated till the 4th match when its failure was confirmed. In view of this maze of experimentation it can also be said that India never really cared if they won or lost games/series. For example, in the 4th crunch game that could have cost them the series India kept on with Rahul, dropped Ishan Kishan and drafted in Rahul Chahar for the first time in the series.


Now that India have won the Series all actions seem justified. However, when the team has time-tested openers why should it be necessary to keep trying new options. Shikhar Dhawan played only once and then dismissed; Ishan Kishan played well and dismissed; and now Kohli has an exciting story to tell about opening partnership. Finally, who are going to open in the World Cup? Rohit-Dhawan or Rohit-Ishan or Rohit-Rahul or Rohit-Kohli? Or what about the opening pair in the three-match one-day international series that starts in Pune from March 23, 2021? Similar experiments done in the almost two-year countdown to the World Cup-2019 focused on an enigmatic no.4 position in the batting order cost India the Cup.