Bengaluru: Their supremacy restored after a rare blip, India will go for the kill even as an angry England alight at the Garden City with fire in their bellies, setting the stage for a tantalising series-deciding third and final Twenty20 International on Wednesday.
A 4-0 triumph in a five-match Test rubber was followed by a 2-1 win in Virat Kohli’s maiden assignment as ODI skipper, and the Delhi dazzler would look to translate that result into the shortest format also and conclude what has so far been a hugely successful winter on a high.
Trailing, surprisingly, 0-1 heading into the second T20 game in Nagpur, India were helped by a terrific display of death bowling by young Jasprit Bumrah, and an umpiring howler, in staging a fightback in the three-match series.
The defeat in the last game from an impregnable winning position has left England skipper Eoin Morgan “extremely frustrated”, and he would desperately want his team to leave the Indian shore with something to cheer about.
While Bumrah’s was a performance worthy of winning any game, having conceded a measly five runs in overs 18 and 20 when batsmen normally go hammer and tongs, umpire Chettithody Shamshuddin’s wrong decision against Joe Root at a crucial juncture stood out like a sore thumb, prompting the England management to take up the case with the ICC.
Replays showed that not only was the ball heading down the leg side, but Root had got a thick edge on it as it thudded into his thigh pad.
However, while England may be raring to make amends after throwing it away, it will be a humongous task to get the better of an opponent brimming with confidence. They may have displayed fighting abilities and also won the opening game, but the hosts will still have their nose ahead at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Kohli, unbeaten as captain series-wise at home in all formats of the game, will be too happy to add another silverware to his cabinet at a venue where India have fond memories — they knocked out Bangladesh from the World T20 by one run last year.
That March win against Bangladesh, as well as the one last Sunday, will be fresh in their minds, and they will take positives out of those victories. In both matches, one common factor has been Bumrah’s successful final overs.
There remains, though, areas India would like to improve further.
At Nagpur, it was the clever bowling by Chris Jordan, Ben Stokes and Tymal Mills, backed up by England’s excellent fielding, which stifled India.
Kohli and coach Anil Kumble would sit down and find an answer to the pace trio who have, time and again, outfoxed the batsmen with well-disguised slower deliveries and dried up boundaries.
(With PTI inputs)