4th T20I: England’s pace a big challenge for India

England’s pace bowling and opener K.L. Rahul’s position in the playing XI, especially at the top of the order, will be the questions India will have to answer if they are to survive in the T20 series against England.

India need to win the fourth T20I on Thursday at the Narendra Modi Stadium to stay alive in the series after England won the third match to go 2-1 up in the series.

Leading England’s charge is their pace bowling attack. Mark Wood has been among the wickets and has made run-making difficult with the pace and bounce he generates from the pitch. England have won both the matches in which Wood played.

Wood gave away 20 runs in his four overs picking a wicket in the first match and then took three wickets in the next match to help his team restrict India despite Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 77.

India have failed to get good starts and were it not for Ishan Kishan’s blitzkrieg in the second T20 International, opener Rahul’s failure would have been even more prominent.

The right-handed batsman has racked up scores of 1, 0 and 0 in the three T20Is and it looks likely that Kishan, who opened in the second T20I will go back to opening in the fourth match.

Both captain Kohli and batting coach Vikram Rathour have, however, backed Rahul to perform.

Rahul did well in the T20Is in New Zealand.

Post Covid-19, the batsman returned as the Orange Cap winner in the Indian Premier League, getting 670 runs for the 2020 season and earning the vice-captaincy slot for the limited overs series in Australia in the absence of injured Rohit Sharma.

India will also be worried about their spin attack. Their main spinner Yuzvendra Chahal seems to have been marked out. The England batsmen, Jos Buttler in particular, didn’t allow him to settle in Tuesday’s match.

India squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Rahul Tewatia, T. Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur.

England squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wicket-keeper), Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, Mark Wood.

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