England’s full-fledged tour of India will enter its final stage on Tuesday as the two teams lock horns in a three-match One-Day International series to be played in Pune. England will be keen to end the tour of India with a series victory in at least one format of the game, while the hosts look to defeat the top-ranked ODI team to boost their credentials.
The hosts had earlier clinched the four-match Test series 3-1 after bouncing back from a loss in the first Test. The five-match T20I series also went India’s way after a thrilling encounter in the series decider on Saturday.
WILL INDIA’S DOMINANCE CONTINUE?
India played their last ODI game back in December when they won the last ODI in the three-match series as a consolation victory after losing the first two matches. India will look for a better outcome this time around – they have won four series in a row and would like to make it five in familiar home conditions.
It won’t be an easy feat as the T20 series has shown. England are a far tougher team in limited-overs; they are currently ranked No. 1 in both ODIs and T20s, and India need to be at their best throughout the series.
India’s limited-overs squad looks settled – Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are the standard opening pair, with the skipper providing additional batting power at the top of the order. The coming-of-age of Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant has bolstered India’s previously weak middle-order. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar has been phenomenal since his return in the T20 series, and spin-friendly pitches will give Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav the chance to shine.
India Squad: Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant(wk), KL Rahul(wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur.
SHOULD ENGLAND WORRY?
England had a 2-1 lead in the T20 series before entering the final two matches. Their failure to convert the lead into a series victory should worry Eoin Morgan – both the T20 World Cup later this year and the ODI World Cup in 2023 will be held on Indian tracks which England have not been able to master so far.
England got off to great starts in all the T20s, but they failed to convert those starts either into big scores or to keep up the pace of the chase. But their middle-order has failed to spark, with Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes failing to make any significant contributions.
England’s bowlers have not performed well, either, leaking runs in the middle overs and failing to take wickets. England will miss Jofra Archer in the ODI series as he flies back home after suffering an elbow injury in the T20Is. Matt Parkinson, Liam Livingstone and Reece Topley have been added to the ODI squad, while Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan will be available in India if the need arises.
ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP SUPER LEAGUE
The ODI series between India and England is also part of the inaugural ODI Super League. The League was introduced to serve as a qualification process for the ODI World Cup to be held in 2023. While India automatically qualify for the World Cup as hosts, the other top 12 teams in limited-overs cricket have to battle it out for the remaining seven spots. England are currently third in the Super League with 30 points from six matches, while India are tenth with nine points from three matches.
England Squad: Eoin Morgan(c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler(wk), Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Livingstone, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, Reece Topley
1st ODI PREDICTION
It is tough to predict the outcome when the No.1 and No.2 teams in the world meet each other in the field. Batting orders of both the teams look solid, and it will be the bowlers who will make the difference. India will have the slightest edge over England owing to familiar spin-friendly tracks and their recent form.
Pitch Report: The tracks at Pune have been spin-friendly historically. The pitch will likely be on the slower side to assist India’s spinners. Expect dew in the evening to play spoilsport.
India Predicted XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shardul Thakur.
England Predicted XI: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Eoin Morgan(C), Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Moeen Ali, Mark Wood.
When: Tuesday, March 23, 1:30 PM IST
Where: MCA Stadium, Pune. The matches will be played behind closed doors due to rising Covid-19 cases in the country.
Where to Watch: All matches of the series will be telecast live on Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar.
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