Indian skipper Virat Kohli promoted himself up the order as the hosts dropped out-of-form opener KL Rahul in search of a statement series win in the fifth and final T20I against England at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday. 

Rahul has endured a miserable run in the shortest format recently, scoring a combined 15 runs in four innings in the ongoing series. He also recorded three ducks in four innings prior to scoring 14 runs in the fourth encounter against England on Thursday. 

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His run of form prompted the Indian team management to omit him from the squad for the series finale, with skipper Kohli deciding to open the innings along with Rohit Sharma. 

In seven innings as an opener in T20I cricket, Kohli has a total of 198 runs at an average of 28.29 – down from his T20I average of 51.60 – and a strike rate of 146.67, according stats from He has a solitary fifty as an opener. 

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Ishan Kishan, who missed out on the fourth encounter with an injury, was another option for the opening berth but Kohli said at the toss that they were looking to find a “good balance between bat and ball” and decided to replace Rahul with paceman T Nataraj instead. 

Another factor affecting Kishan’s omission from the squad may have been the form of his Mumbai Indians teammate Suryakumar Yadav, who scored his maiden T20I fifty on Thursday. 

England won the toss and elected to chase in the decisive fifth T20I.