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Series Review - Two Spectacular Debuts, Rahul's Woeful Form, Kohli the Anchor & India's New Attacking Strategy

The performances of the two debutants, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, was the highlight for India in the series. To rise to the occasion in your maiden series against the best team in the world was a testimony of their mental toughness, courage and temperament as much as of their skill and physical ability.

Series Review - Two Spectacular Debuts, Rahul's Woeful Form, Kohli the Anchor & India's New Attacking Strategy

A brilliant and dominating display by the Indian batting line-up and then a fine fightback by their bowlers helped the home team to a comprehensive 36-run victory in the series decider against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday. The win was India’s sixth consecutive bilateral series victory and meant that they are now unbeaten in their last 8 series. India’s stunning performance in the decider also showcased their magnificent play in the big matches – they have now won 9 of their last 10 bilateral series deciders since 2016.

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There were a number of stand-out performances and highlights from the series. We look at some of the numbers that made the difference, some big names who did not fire, a couple of debutants who lit up the encounters and other big stories from the series.


KL Rahul had a lower aggregate than Jofra Archer in the series. He scored a mere 15 runs in 4 innings with three binary-digit performances – 0, 0 and 1. Rahul has registered three ducks in his last five T20I appearances for India and was finally dropped from the XI for the series decider. Rahul will be a part of the squad for the World T20 but will again need to score big runs in the IPL to get his confidence and form back. No batsman has scored more runs combined in the last three editions of the coveted league than Rahul. He has also been a prolific scorer for India prior to the England series and has the backing of his captain and other senior members of the support staff.


Ishan Kishan produced a match-winning 56 off just 32 deliveries on debut in the second match of the series laying the platform for a successful Indian chase. Suryakumar Yadav then hammered two defining knocks in his first two outings with the bat for India. He scored 57 off just 31 deliveries even as the big runs failed around him paving the way for a big total by the home team which ultimately gave India a series-levelling 8 run victory. Yadav then smashed a defining cameo 32 off 17 deliveries in the decider building on the momentum provided by Rohit Sharma and helping skipper Virat Kohli anchor the innings.

The performances of these two series debutants was the highlight for India in the series. To rise to the occasion in your maiden series against the best team in the world was a testimony of their mental toughness, courage and temperament as much as of the skill and physical ability.

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Virat Kohli had promised an attacking and aggressive new strategy in batting in which more initiative would be shown by all the batsmen throughout the course of the innings even at the cost of losing wickets. He walked the talk despite the new method failing miserably in the series opener. It paid off as players like Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant and finally Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya backed their captain and took on the English bowlers to come out on top.

This was a big gain for India apart from winning the series itself. Kohli and the think-tank needed this strategy to work as it is the only way to beat teams like England consistently in T20I cricket and in big tournaments like the World T20. Given the depth of India’s batting with the likes of Pant, Pandya and Sundar in the lower-order, the top-order could now bat more freely and start the assault early.


Virat Kohli is amongst the greatest batsmen in T20I cricket history with most of his success from the number three position. Yet, given Rahul’s poor form and to give players like Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav a chance, he moved around in the batting order putting the team above the individual and still came up with three fine performances in the series. The idea and plan was clear – while the other batsmen would go all-out and attack the bowling, Kohli would play the role of the playmaker and anchor the innings for the initial part before pressing on the accelerator himself – a role he played to perfection opening the innings in the decider.

From 25 off 23 deliveries, Kohli had accelerated beautifully and remained unbeaten on a match-defining 80 off 52 deliveries. Batting at his usual number three position, he had scored 73 off 49 deliveries in the second match again anchoring the Indian innings in the chase. He had produced another undefeated knock of 77 off 46 deliveries, this time from the number four position, scoring almost half of India’s total of 156 in the third encounter when most others around him had failed.


Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya made it count when it mattered the most – in the big game in the decider of the series. Both had not done much with the bat in the series till Saturday. Rohit gave India the initial impetus in the powerplay hammering 64 off just 34 deliveries. He had smashed a hundred in the series decider at Bristol too in 2018. Hardik Pandya who was being wasted down the order in the first four matches of the series blasted a match-changing cameo when promoted to number 4 in the decider. He had produced a similar innings at Bristol.


Shardul Thakur was taken for a few runs in the series but returned as the highest wicket-taker with 8 wickets from the five matches. He got two huge wickets for India in the decider changing the match on its head getting rid of Bairstow and Malan in the same over.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was exceptional with the new ball throughout the series. He bowled a disciplined tight line and length and was extremely restrictive even in the powerplay. Apart from his sensational returns in the final (2-15 in 4 overs including 17 dot deliveries), Kumar did not concede more than 7.5 runs per over in any of the other four remaining matches too. He was the most economical bowler of the series choking the England batsman for runs.

Kumar would be the ideal partner for Jasprit Bumrah in the World T20.


Chris Jordan has the knack of picking wickets and is regarded as a T20 specialist given his ability to produce the yorkers in the death overs. But the England fast bowling all-rounder was the most expensive bowler in the series with an economy rate of 10.51. His economy rate has gone up to as high as 8.86 in T20Is for England.

Apart from KL Rahul’s form, another major concern for India from the series was the rising economy rate of their ace leg spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal. Chahal was the second-most expensive bowler of the series and the most expensive for India with an economy rate of 9.91 in the first three matches before being dropped from the XI. His numbers since 2019 have seen a dramatic decline. His economy rate has gone up to as high as 9.14 in this period. Neither is he picking the wickets in the middle overs. Chahal managed to bag just 18 wickets in 21 matches with no four-plus wicket haul in an innings in this time-frame. His bowling average has gone up to 41.66 and strike rate deteriorated to 27.3.


His performance in the decider notwithstanding, the fastest batsman to a 1000 runs in T20I cricket history, had a poor tournament with the bat. Although he got the starts he was too slow and wasted a number of precious deliveries at the top of the order. 24 (20 balls), 24 (23 balls), 18 (17 balls) and 14 (17 balls) – these were very ordinary returns for the England number three in the first four matches of the series.

England also wasted one of their finest batsmen in the lower-order not giving him enough opportunities to express himself with the bat. Eoin Morgan, the captain was wasted at number 5 and 6 when a batsman of his calibre should ideally bat at number 4. Morgan is a slow starter and needs some time to settle in. His strike rate implodes post he reaches 20. By batting himself so low in the order the England skipper was denying the team the best of his services with the bat. Morgan faced just 30 deliveries in the series.

Team Rankings

1 New Zealand 3198 118
2 Australia 3028 116
3 India 3085 114
4 England 4326 106
5 South Africa 2499 96
FULL Ranking
1 England 5405 123
2 India 6102 117
3 New Zealand 3716 116
4 Australia 4344 111
5 South Africa 3345 108
FULL Ranking
1 England 6877 275
2 Australia 6800 272
3 India 10186 268
4 Pakistan 7516 259
5 South Africa 5047 252
FULL Ranking