After a thrilling test series India and England head to Pune for a T20 international (2.30pm GMT, Thursday).
Both squads feature changed line-ups and hosts India will be confident of putting test disappointment behind them and claiming victory in the form of the game where many say they are strongest.
India retain a familiar line-up in this contest while England have an emerging side as they continue to rebuild after winning the T20 World Cup in 2010. Eoin Morgan will captain the team in the absence of the injured Stuart Broad and the inexperience in the tourists’ squad could ultimately count against them.
There’s no shortage of talent here however and the batting line up is headed by Alex Hales and Luke Wright who both made England’s highest T20 score of 99 during 2012. Wright has been in excellent form during the Australian Big Bash tournament and his runs in particular will be vital to England’s success in this match.
The selectors may try to find room for Michael Lumb who finished the Champions League T20 as the tournament’s leading run scorer. It will be hard for the Nottinghamshire left hander to displace Hales or Wright but England need a positive start and they will be a weaker outfit if Lumb is left in the dugout.
The English middle order look strong with Morgan and Jonny Bairstow backed by Samit Patel but fast run scoring at the top of the order is the key to victory for the tourists.
India’s batting may be missing familiar faces such as Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag but they retain experienced players such as Gautam Gambhir and the skipper MS Dhoni. However, the most exciting player in the squad is 24 year old Ajinkya Rahane who may felt was unlucky not to appear in the recent test series.
Rahane made an impressive entrance into T20 cricket in England in 2011. While he may not be a ‘power hitter’ he scores runs quickly and could easily take the game away from the visitors in the space of a few overs.
Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh complete a formidable batting order and if the hosts can play to their full potential, they will set a winning total or chase down any target that England set them.
There are few bowlers on either side who can be tagged as world class in this format of the game. England rest Graeme Swann, Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar so their line up of Bresnan, Dernbach, Briggs and Patel is more about containment than taking wickets.
India too will rely more on a seam attack that keeps the runs down and this is where the game is likely to be decided.
Both teams are stronger in the batting department and will therefore be looking to target weaker bowling attacks. India have the better batting side and if they play to their full potential, the hosts should win this quite comfortably.