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India vs England, 1st T20I at Kanpur AFP

England commenced India tour on November 9, 2016 and won their first game on January 22, 2017. Of course, they returned home for Christmas break in between but had to strive hard for their first victory. Having tasted success in the dead rubber of the ODI series (which went down to the wire) at Eden Gardens, visitors will be looking to inflict some pain on the hosts by winning the three-match Twenty20 (T20I) series and end tour on a high. Eoin Morgan‘s side’s last T20I on Indian soil was a cracker-of-a-contest but ended up in heartbreak for them, as they conceded the coveted ICC World Twenty20 (WT20) 2016 title to West Indies. They will be eager to start afresh leaving behind their past mistakes.

On the other hand, hosts India will look to assert their dominance on the tourists in the shortest format as well. After winning the Tests as well as the ODIs, India will like to complete the treble of wins when they take field in the first T20I at Kanpur. Though there is little relevance to this series, given the next ICC World T20 is in 2020 unless ICC squeezes in an edition next year, both India and England can use the series as an opportunity to get some more practice ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy.

For India, it will also be a chance to test some of their reserve players as well the likes of Suresh Raina and Ashish Nehra, who are returning after long. England too have some exciting additions to their side for this series. In this segment, Chinmay Jawalekar and Aditya Sahay take you through the likely XIs of the two teams for the Kanpur T20I:

Top-order: India struggled with their opening combination in the ODIs. With Rohit Sharma being unavailable, their problem was further compounded when neither of Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul nor Ajinkya Rahane clicking. But with Dhawan and Rahane not there for the T20Is, India may try another combination at the top. Skipper Virat Kohli, who has made it clear he is open to bat at the top, might open the innings with his RCB teammate Rahul, who is likely to get nod ahead of another RCB player Mandeep Singh at least for the first T20I. Such a move will also open window for Raina at No. 3, a position he loves to bat at.

For England, it will not be a tough call. Jason Roy was phenomenal in the ODIs, hitting a fifty in all three outings. He will open with Sam Billings, who replaced injured Alex Hales at the top for the final ODI. No. 3 spot shall be taken by Joe Root. He missed the action in Kolkata due to niggle but will be back to hold England’s innings in the middle. This man never runs out of form, or steam, and will like to add another 50, or more, under his belt in the ongoing tour.

Middle-order: Old indeed is gold, and we witnessed the same during the ODIs, as Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni gave ample evidence though their timeless batting. The two shall once again hold fort for India in the middle-overs. At No. 6, however, there will not be Kedar Jadhav this time around. The stylish batsman, who accumulated 232 runs in the ODI series at a strike rate of 144, was not named in the T20I squad. Instead, Manish Pandey is likely to get his chance after warming the bench for the ODIs. He is likely to be followed by all-rounder Hardik Pandya at No. 7.

England’s middle-order has some big names in form of Morgan, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes. Morgan should come in at No. 4 followed by his deputy, Buttler, Stokes and Moeen at 7. If one of them gets into their elements, it will be a tough ride for India. Buttler made a quickfire 33 off 36 balls in the IPL 2016 clash between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Gujarat Lions (GL) on this ground and will be confident of turning the heat after a disappointing ODIs.

Bowling department: With Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja being rested, Parvez Rasool, Amit Mishra and Yuzvendra Chahal will get their chances. However, only two of the three will get a place in the XI and the toss up will be between Mishra and Chahal, both leg-spinners. The pacers slots shall be taken by Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah, with Bhuvneshwar missing out.

For England, Liam Plunkett should come in at No. 8 after Moeen, and use the long handle to good effect. Adil Rashid missed the last two ODIs but should get a look-in at No. 9. David Willey, who picked up a shoulder injury in the Kolkata ODI, is ruled out. He isinvaluable for his side in coloured clothing and should return in the line-up if he recovers just in time. He suffered a shoulder injury while fielding in the last ODI on Sunday. In case he misses the bus, Tymal Mills will be visitors’ back-up who can easily bowl around the 145-mph mark. Chris Jordan makes the cut in England’s fearsome line-up who will look to get off to a fitting start in this series.

India Likely XI for 1st T20I: KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Parvez Rasool, Amit Mishra/Yuzvendra Chahal, Ashish Nehra, Jasprit Bumrah.

England’s likely XI: Jason Roy, Sam Billings, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Chris Jordan. Tymal Mills.