Analysis | ENG v IND | 2nd T20I
Written By: Jeet Vachharajani
Picture Courtesy: Getty Images
There was a role reversal for England & India with the tactics on show in the 1st T20I & 2nd T20I. England were outstanding in the first game & nailed most of their plans, but they made similar errors in their 2nd game to what India did in their 1st.
1) Delayed entry of spinners
England and India fielded a total of 6 & 7 spinners respectively in their XIs including part-timers who bowl fairly regularly. When you have a spin-loaded XI, the last thing you want to do is delay the entry of the spinners. Both teams were guilty of opening their bowling with two pacers in the 1st T20I. But in the 2nd T20I, there was a course correction by India as England stuck to the same utilization and paid heavily for it.
The reason why the spinners needed to be introduced early were as follows:
- Heavy spin attacks (6 vs. 7)
- Pitches known to aid the spinners (CLS & Derby)
- Dimensions known to aid the spinners (CLS & Derby)
- Openers in either team known to struggle against spin early
2) Smriti Mandhana & Danni Wyatt allowed off the hook
Smriti Mandhana is known to struggle against right-arm off-spin (RAO) early in her innings. This makes opening your bowling attack with a pacer + RAO very important against her. There are only a select few teams I have observed in the last couple of years who actually apply this tactic regularly. In the 1st T20I, it was eventually the off-spin of Bryony Smith that got rid of Smriti Mandhana in the PP, but in both the games she was introduced to bowl the 4th over. One shall not forget that Bryony actually opens the bowling several times for the South East Stars, so she's experienced at it.
Danni Wyatt has struggled against the spinners in recent times. India erred in the first game when they weirdly decided to throw the new ball to Pooja Vastrakar, a bowler who is not known to take the new ball. By the time Deepti came in to have a bowl, it was over #4 with Danni Wyatt having settled. But in the 2nd game, India rectified their error and threw the new ball to Deepti Sharma. While Wyatt didn't face many balls, Deepti did manage to scalp out Sophia Dunkley in her very first over that saw England crumble in the PP.
3) Field adjustments
India were again quick to learn their lessons after the mauling they got from the hands of Sophia Dunkley in the first game. Dunkley likes to access the long-off region. It has got a lot to do with how she sets up, her grip, & the low position she gets into. Harmanpreet Kaur had weirdly positioned herself at straightish long-on in the first game & dropped a catch of Dunkley where the long-off should have been ideally placed.
Dunkley's scoring zone in the 1st T20 | Wagon wheel courtesy of BCCI
In the second game, India were quick to realize that and had sealed the long-off position from Ball 1 when Renuka Singh opened the innings. This long-off position was a smart move by India to stop Dunkley from accessing that area where she scored 19 runs in the first game. However, with such a position in play, the bowling plans need to be very specific. Someone like Deepti needs to bowl OTW to Dunkley if she has a long-off in place or Renuka needs to swing it away more often.
Meanwhile, England kept making the error and left the deep square leg region unpatrolled. Mandhana likes to get low & pull the ball in that region against most type of bowlers. She did exactly that & managed to score 5 boundaries in that region with that area remaining unprotected.
Mandhana's boundaries in the 2nd T20I | Wagon wheel courtesy of BCCI
4) Mandhana smartly maximizes the Southern Brave match-ups
Smriti Mandhana has spent two years with Lauren Bell in the Hundred & one year with Freya Kemp. She'd have faced them enough in the nets or at least know what they bowl. This was evident in how she set up against both these bowlers & it rubbed off on Shafali Verma as well. Bell is not an ideal choice to open the bowling against an LHB-RHB opening pair, especially if one of those two batters is a batter who has faced her a lot. Bell likes to swing the new ball away from LHBs & becomes predictable. The fact that she lacks control with the line is a problem that gets accentuated by the LHB-RHB pair being in the middle. She has to use her variations or just learn how to swing it the other way as well in order to be a threat against most of the teams.
Smriti was smart in how she tackled her in both games. She knew that Bell resorts mainly to the outswingers, so she either used her feet or stepped to her right a little in order to free her arms and thrash the ball to the off-side. She scored a total of 23 runs in 21 balls against Bell in the two games without being dismissed & 3/4 boundaries came on the off-side.
Swing away from Mandhana was swing into Shafali. This meant that Shafali stayed still & just looked to hit it with the swing towards long-on. She did that twice in the second game & one can assume that there were some inputs passed by Smriti.
Mandhana's smarts were at display against Freya Kemp too. Kemp swings the ball into LHBs, so Mandhana did the opposite of what she did to Bell. She moved across her stumps or walked down the pitch & attacked the leg-side region. This seemed like a premeditated ploy by Mandhana stemming out of the fact that she knew what these two bowlers bowl.
Both these pacers have great slower ball variations, but when it comes to swing, they can primarily swing it only in one direction & end up becoming predictable. This is a key reason why letting Bryony take the new ball becomes important for more than one reason.