Date: March 20, 2021
Time: 7:00 PM IST
Venue: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
Hold your breath! Cancel all your Saturday night plans as India lock horns with England for the series-decider on Saturday. After 4 hard-fought contests, there is nothing separating them with series levelled at 2-2. It has certainly been a see-saw battle between the top two T20I sides in world cricket. After Eoin Morgan's side bagged the early advantage, Men in Blue bounced back in emphatic fashion. The visitors once again got ahead in the series before a resilient Indian side showed composure to mark another comeback.
The toss was the talk of series until the last contest where Suryakumar proved that putting runs on board isn't that difficult also. The audacious approach, complete fearlessness and the sheer confidence is what that has been lacking from sides batting first. However, going into the final contest, both the sides will still be looking to chase the target considering the amount of dew that was on offer in the 4th T20I on Thursday.
Talking about the feeling inside the camps, Eoin Morgan's side would certainly be slightly disappointed having lost an opportunity to seal the series in the previous contest. England have never defeated India in a bilateral T20I series before and it could be their maiden win, if they can pull of a victory on Saturday. India, on the other hand, will be looking to complete a hat-trick of T20I series wins over their opponents. Virat Kohli's side also has an opportunity to close the gap at top of the ICC T20I rankings, giving his side a psychological advantage ahead of T20 World Cup scheduled later this year.
With so much at stake for both the sides, the stage is perfectly set up for a grandstand finish in Ahmedabad. While there won't be any crowd in the stadium, millions of fans all over the world will be glued to their TV screens as the top 2 ranked teams in the shortest-format clash against each other for an epic finale on a blockbuster Saturday evening.
The hosts made two changes in the previous contest, with Suryakumar Yadav and Rahul Chahar replacing Ishan Kishan and Yuzvendra Chahal. Both the new entrants performed fairly well as SKY smashed 57 runs off 31 deliveries while Chahar took 2 crucial wickets as well. Both of them are certainly expected to keep their place in the side. However, there are 2 players whose place will be under scrutiny for the 5th T20I. While KL Rahul's struggle in the series (15 runs in 4 matches) continued, Washington Sundar (0/52) had a surprisingly disappointing outing. Although Kohli is expected to keep faith in both the players, there is a slight possibility that India might include Ishan Kishan and Rahul Tewatia for the deciding contest.
The visitors haven't experimented too much with their Playing XI in the series so far. However, with T20 World Cup scheduled later this year in India, Eoin Morgan's side would be inclined towards giving one of their new players an opportunity in the final contest. The only place where a change could be seen is the No. 3 spot, which is currently occupied by Dawid Malan. The left-handed batsman has had a fairly disappointing time in Ahmedabad so far, registering only 80 runs in 4 matches. It is expected that one of Sam Billings or Liam Livingstone could get an opportunity to play their first match of the series. Although the bowling department has done fairly well, there is an outside possibility that England might give Tom Curran another chance in place of Chris Jordan.
Head to head (in last 5 T20Is)
Players to watch out for:
Matches: 4 | Runs: 151 | Avg: 75.5 | SR: 143.81 | HS: 77*
Matches: 4 | Runs: 144 | Avg: 36 | SR: 134.58 | HS: 49
Matches: 4 | Wickets: 7 | Avg: 16 | ER: 7.00 | Best: 4/33
Matches: 4 | Wickets: 5 | Avg: 24.6 | ER: 9.23 | Best: 3/42
Probable Playing XI
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul/Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Virat Kohli (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar/Rahul Tewatia, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Chahar
Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Dawid Malan/Sam Billings, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan/Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood