Virat Kohli has said he will remain animated on the field no matter what    IANS
Virat Kohli has said he will remain animated on the field no matter what IANS

Virat Kohli vs Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni vs Moeen Ali, Yuvraj Singh vs Adil Rashid: it is difficult to pick one battle that will keep the spectators on the edge of their seats, in the series opener between India and England at Pune s Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium. Both teams boast of a star-studded line-up. Batsmen using long handles, pacers bowling toe-crushing yorkers, and fielders taking stunners: it is going to be a crackerjack of a contest. Let us walk through some of the key battles that are likely to decide the fate of the match:

Shikhar Dhawan vs Chris Woakes: In the first warm-up contest, we saw the Delhi southpaw coming down the track and playing drives over the infield. However, Woakes has the knack of swinging the ball both ways, making it difficult for Dhawan to go all guns blazing. Whether Dhawan fires on all cylinders or Woakes gets the better of him, is a question only time will tell.

Joe Root vs Umesh Yadav: For Umesh to dismiss Root, he will have to get hold of staggering openers Jason Roy and Alex Hales. Nonetheless, Umesh has been accurate of late, often bowling in the corridor of uncertainty. Root, on the other hand, is a class-apart batsman, and will look to bat throughout to score his mandatory hundred.

FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs England, 1st ODI at Pune

Virat Kohli vs Ben Stokes: In the Test series, we saw the two belligerent cricketers taking a dig at each other. We often saw them putting a finger on their lips when the either of them was dismissed. And Kohli in the pre-match conference said he will continue being aggressive on the field despite being the captain. Well, he never takes half measures, does he?

Eoin Morgan vs Jasprit Bumrah: This battle is between two of the most versatile cricketers. While one is known for unconventional stroke-playing, the other knows the art of bowling in the block-holes with his slingshot action.

Yuvraj Singh vs Adil Rashid: Yuvraj, in the first warm-up, smacked one over the sight screen off Rashid s leg-spinner. We witnessed a vintage Yuvraj stroke: stand and deliver. The two are likely to be pitted against each other in the middle overs.

MS Dhoni vs Moeen Ali: Now that the burden of captaincy is off the former Captain Cool, he is likely to play freely and display the good ol Dhoni we know; the one that blasts sixes off spinners over the deep mid-wicket region. However, Moeen has a reputation of preying on the big guns. Therefore, it will be interesting to see who emerges victorious.