England v India, World T20 2012, Group A, Colombo September 22, 2012

Budding rivalry meets inconsequential match


Match facts

September 23, 2012
Start time 1930 (1400 GMT)

Big picture

Ever since England humbled India at home last year, there has existed some needle between the two. The administrators have crossed swords over DRS and IPL windows, Twitter has been a battleground for fans, even former players have had uncharitable things to say in commentary boxes ... but the real deal between India and England will be on later, played out during the Indian winter.

Still, it would have helped if their Twenty20 on Sunday were more than a glorified warm-up match. Both the sides have made it to the next round, and this game is of no consequence to anybody's fortune in this tournament. India will be the more thankful side for it. Of all the strong teams so far, India are the only one who kept their lesser opponents interested. Their bowling and fielding are in shambles, and this match gives them three extra hours to try to figure out a combination or a method that inspires more trust.

If India are built on strong and long (at least on paper) batting and an army of part-timers, England have invested in specialists: five (at least, so far) solid bowlers and just enough batsmen. It will be a slightly different test for England's bowlers when they come up against a much stronger India batting line-up. It will be an interesting clash of T20 philosophies but without the tension that a meaningful match in a world event should bring.

Form guide

England WWLWW (completed matches, most recent first)

Watch out for

Stuart Broad and Yuvraj Singh were two completely different players five years and four days ago when Yuvraj hit Broad for six sixes in an over. Broad has gone on to become a champion player of a champion Test side, and has also won a World Twenty20. Yuvraj has realised a lifelong dream of winning a World Cup, and while his Test career has not gone anywhere he has won a bigger fight. Broad had his own back when he triggered a collapse with the wicket of Yuvraj in a Test-turning spell - that included a hat-trick - at Trent Bridge. Now that they face each other again, expect a lot of hits for the youtube videos of the sixes and the hat-tricks.

Zaheer Khan has been hailed as the "Sachin Tendulkar of Indian bowling" by MS Dhoni, and rightly so. In fact between Anil Kumble's retirement and the World Cup last year, Zaheer was the Tendulkar of the '90s: if he failed, the whole bowling unit disintegrated. However, Zaheer - like Tendulkar - now faces serious calls for retirement from at least one of the formats so that he can continue to be the bowler he was until last year's World Cup. Mohammad Shahzad and Mohammad Nabi of Afghanistan treated him with disdain, and if other sides can do the same, it will have a demoralising effect that India are not unfamiliar with.

Team news

England have got a good thing going with their line-up, and wouldn't want to fiddle around too much. Depending on the conditions, Tim Bresnan could replace Samit Patel.

England (possible): Craig Kieswetter (wk), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Luke Wright, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Jos Buttler, 7 Samit Patel/Tim Bresnan, 8 Stuart Broad (capt), 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach

Dhoni indicated India will make a changes with this being an inconsequential match. What changes, he didn't say. It is against Dhoni's conservative mindset to play five bowlers, so it is more likely that either Harbhajan Singh or Ashok Dinda might replace one of the faltering quicks. Dhoni, though, might want to give Zaheer some more time in the middle.

India (possible): 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 Rohit Sharma, 7 MS Dhoni (capt &wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Irfan Pathan, 10 Zaheer Khan, 11 L Balaji/Ashok Dinda/Harbhajan Singh.

Pitch and conditions

The R Premadasa pitch used for the England-Afghanistan game was an interesting one, with variable bounce looking threatening early on, but England still found enough value for their shots. An evening start might mean some assistance for bowlers, which England should like. Weather websites predict scattered thunderstorms, but it takes a lot of rain to rule out a five-over game.

Stats and trivia

  • Dhoni has captained India in 33 T20Is, the most for anybody.
  • Graeme Swann has conceded 28 sixes, and Broad 25. They are fourth and sixth on the list. It is not necessarily a bad sign: the top 10 features Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi too. For India, Yusuf Pathan has been hit for a six the most: 22 times.


    "It is easier to go after a bowler. If you look at his performances he should get equal respect that Sachin gets. He is the Sachin for us when it comes to the bowling department. He has led our attack for the last few years; he has been our best bowler whatever the format. Maybe in the last few games he has not got the wickets whether it be Test cricket, ODIs or T20."
    MS Dhoni assesses Zaheer Khan's predicament

    "'I think it's hard to call any game meaningless when you're putting on the three lions of England and you're taking the field as an international. Whether it was a must-win for us on Sunday or whether we don't have to win to go through - it won't change our approach to the game. "
    Stuart Broad doesn't entertain the concept of an inconsequential game

    16:48 GMT, September 22: The article had originally stated that Yuvraj Singh was part of Stuart Broad's Trent Bridge hat-trick. This has been changed.

    Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on September 23, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    Before the game starts , I have 2 slight concerns about the England side. 1 is that if the pitch does turn we only have 1 spin option and the 2nd is that our pace bowlers might over use the shorter ball

  • Fahad on September 23, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    Even without Pieterson, England will humiliate India. Yes, that's how it's gong to be.

  • Dummy4 on September 23, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    please play with 5 bowler allways.if 1 bowler fails easy to recover.batting not a matter at all.20 over game no need more batsmen allways.like 2 swinners and 3 fast bowlers is best option.insead of rohit sharma please give a chance to herbajan singh.

  • Mike on September 23, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Everyone, the WC has just begun. please try to enjoy rather than pass disparaging comments on other teams. Every fan wants his/he team to win. Its Simple.

  • rahul on September 23, 2012, 12:33 GMT


  • John on September 23, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    @Bruisers on (September 23 2012, 10:36 AM GMT), do you actually read? He said that there is only one GREAT fielder in the India side and that's Kohli. Dhoni and Yuvraj are both VERY GOOD, not GREAT, and the rest are OK at best. Not that every other team is packed with greats in the field but I'd say that England has at least four excellent fielders and no one who is genuinely bad. That didn't stop all and sundry dropping catches in England this summer, mind you, but their fielding so far in SL has been very good.

  • Muhammed on September 23, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    My India 11 against England would be Gambhir, Sehwag, Kohli, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Raina, Irfan, Harbajan, Ashwin, Zaheer & Dinda Mix Zaheer, Irfan & Dinda for 8-9 overs and mix Ashwin, Bhajji, Yuvraj for balance overs. This will restrict England between 155 - 170. Indian battling line up (with 6 batsmen) should be able to score 170-190. Match result (without rain, D/L): India win

  • Aditya on September 23, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    Why not give Manoj Tiwary a chance as well - his leg spinners are effective, he is a very good fielder, and he is an attacking batsman as well. How long should he languish on the sidelines?

  • jayesh on September 23, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    Dhoni bhai, please TRUST our batsmen,and play with 5 genuine bowlers. Don't under-estimate Irfan Pathan. He can bat as well as Rohit can. This 4 bowler strategy puts a lot pressure on our bowlers. But then time and again everyone including you put blame on poor bowlers..Please make Rohit 12th man and include Bhajji. He can bat a bit too.....

  • Peter on September 23, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    @Bruisers. Did you even read Meety's post? He only mentioned one, the other two he said were VERY GOOD! I have seen both Rohit & Tiwary & I'm sorry, while they are both very good fielders, they ain't in Kohli's class.

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