A thrilling 8 game white-ball frenzy which was high-scoring for the most part just saw its conclusion. Here’s our top takes from the T20i and ODI series!
After a crushing victory in the Test series came the white ball tournament between England and India. Some might say that the white ball games would be the most closely contested ones on this long home series because, in test cricket, the home does have a slight advantage, especially when it comes to a high-quality side like India. However, in white-ball cricket, England is the number ranked side in both ODIs and T20s, and boy, did we get a cracker of a tournament!
Regardless of India winning both the T20I and ODI series eventually, never at any point till the end it looked like we have a clear winner. Both the series went to the last game where a winner could be decided. We saw some excellent bowling, some high action batting, and competitive white-ball cricket in its most platinum form possible. Let’s look at some key talking points from the last 8 international games’ span before the IPL.
Rishabh Pant’s Continued Brilliance Across Formats
Since his heroics in Australia, Pant has been on many occasions the single-handed match-winner that India needed down the order. In the T20s, he scored some attractive quick-fire scores in the 30s. He did show what he’s made off in the test arena earlier this season, but it was his new role in the ODI side as a middle-order batsman from the 2nd ODI onwards that really turned some heads. The 2 back to back scores of super-quick 70s makes him an excellent prospect for the ODI team. It’ll be exciting to see how he takes care of the new captain role for Delhi Capitals in this season of IPL, filling in for an injured Shreyas Iyer who’s about to miss the entire season.
The Grand Return of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar
Bhuvi has been one of India’s best all-format bowlers through the years because of his disciplined swing bowling. He has been missing out on a lot of cricket because of his injury issues which seem to never go away. Meanwhile, India has been introduced to an army of high-quality pace bowlers for all formats, waiting in the dugout for their opportunity and immediately making impacts. Keeping all of this in mind, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar played each of the 8 games on this white-ball tournaments. Many would say he was the best bowler across the two series on both sides, bowling economically and taking regular wickets. He seems determined to make a comeback into the test team soon and focuses on his fitness more than ever.
The King and the Hit-man!
In the last T20 game, Indian fans were treated to something extra-ordinary with Kohli and Rohit opening the batting for India for the first time in a T20, and it paid off immediately! In the post-match presentation, Kohli said that he will take the opportunity to open the entire season in the IPL and open for India in the T20 world cup. In the shortest format, your best batsmen should play the most number of deliveries, which makes this move even more exciting.
What’s with these Debutants?
India has enjoyed a barrage of debutants since the legendary Australia tour, and the fact that literally, every new player that showcases their talents in an India shirt pays off right away! The list is endless. In this white ball tournament, India debuted Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav in the T20Is, and they both hit really stylish 50s the first time they held a bat. Yadav even hit Jofra Archer for a big six on his first ball in international cricket! Krunal Pandya made his debut in the ODI series and started off with the world record fastest 50 in a debut game. Prasidh Krishna, in the same match, finished with the best bowling figures for any Indian bowler on debut. These are great signs for Indian cricket!
The T20 series was a thrilling contest between two great sides, and the pendulum swung both ways. India broke the rut of losing games after losing the toss and having to defend in the last 2 games of the series, solidifying that they are the definite favourites going into the world cup. The inclusion of batsmen who are genuine match-winners has made the side seem even stronger after this series.
HOWEVER, the ODI tournament came with a set of challenges that the final result doesn’t seem to justify. Batting first in all 3 games, India struggles to make a score that would look threatening throughout the second innings defence effort. The biggest score out of the 3 was chased down brutally in the 43rd over. The inning, which looked like it could be the biggest, faltered towards the end due to quick wickets in the middle, and India managed to win that game by a whisker. Before the 2023 ODI world cup, the Men in Blue must find that balance and the modern approach required to stead head and shoulders with teams like England and Australia, who go all out from the first 10 overs.
All-in-all, these were two of the most premium white-ball tournaments that international cricket can offer. After the IPL, we start counting down towards the world cup, and this series will be an essential bookmark in retrospect.
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