Comeback Kings Deliver Yet again, clinch series 3-2
India vs England T20 Series: 3-2
5th T20: India Won by 36 Runs
Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Bhuvneshwar Kumar starred in a 36-run victory for India over England as the men in blue clinched the decider of the series. The series win by a scoreline of 3-2 ticked a lot of boxes for India as they implemented a newly adopted aggressive batting approach and are a better team at the conclusion of the series ahead of the T20 World Cup which will be played in India later this year.
England won the toss and expectedly asked India to set a target. The visitors played an unchanged XI from the previous encounter but India resorted to making a change as the out of form opener, KL Rahul was replaced by left-arm pacer T Natarajan as they went away from the 5-bowler strategy.
The opening pair was a dream of sorts for the Indian fans as two of India’s best limited-overs batsmen in the history of the game, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma walked out to bat. The two of the team lived up to the billing as the hosts were 60-0 after the powerplay but Kohli had contributed for just 17 runs and it was the deputy skipper who had taken charge. The hitman raced away to 34-ball 64 before he played on, an off-cutter from Stokes, back to the stumps.
Suryakumar Yadav scored the boundaries as he didn’t let Rohit’s wicket restrict the flow of runs. England’s best moment of the innings came when Chris Jordan threw the ball back inside the boundary rope to Jason Roy in the deep mid-wicket region to complete Suryakumar Yadav’s catch as the number 3 departed for 32, which included 3 boundaries and a couple of sixes which he hit at the start of his innings.
Hardik Pandya had a valuable contribution with the bat for the first time in the series as he justified the tag of India’s best finisher with a 17-ball 39 including 3 boundaries against his nemesis Mark Wood.
As all the three Mumbai Indians players played with an aggressive approach, Virat Kohli anchored the innings at a healthy strike rate of 154 and held one end firmly and finished with an unbeaten 80. India set the target of 225 for the Eoin Morgan-led side and it was going to be an uphill task.
Jason Roy departed on the second ball of the innings and from there on England had to play the catch-up game. Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler added 130 runs in 75 balls but the required run-rate zoomed past 13 RPO. Thakur got the breakthrough and post that wicket \India conceded under a run-a-ball for the next 5 overs.
Other than Malan and Buttler none of the batsmen scored more than 15 runs and that was perhaps the story of the England innings. Bhuvneshwar Kumar conceded just 15 runs in his 4-over spell and his variations baffled England and was awarded the man of the match for his performance.
India's Young Guns Deliver to Set-up Grand Finale
India vs England T20 Series: 2-2
4th T20: India won by 8 Runs
India broke the pattern of chasing teams running away to a victory as they defended a total of 185 and levelled the 5-match series 2-2. Suryakumar Yadav’s half-century in his first international innings along with Shreyas Iyer’s finishing act and the death bowling of Bhuvneshwar and Hardik Pandya assured India of a victory in the 4th T20I.
England won the toss and decided to follow the preferred method of chasing while going in with an unchanged side. Following a poor run of performances in the first 3 games where he conceded close to 10 RPO, Chahal was replaced by fellow leg-spinner Rahul Chahar and Suryakumar Yadav replaced Ishan Kishan who missed out due to a niggle.
India’s openers continued struggling against pace in spite of an impressive first over. Adil Rashid opened the bowling and Rohit Sharma scored a maximum off the very first ball of the match and a couple of balls later, he scored a boundary. But once the pacers were into the attack, Rohit and Rahul struggled to keep up the pace.
Suryakumar Yadav walked into bat at number 3 and hit a six on his first-ever delivery in Indian colours and displayed what his intent is going to be for the remainder of the innings.
Rahul and Kohli departed in consecutive overs as the skipper’s woes against wrist-spin continued. However, that didn’t affect SKY’s momentum as there weren't any hindrances to his hitting. He completed his maiden half-century and was unfortunately dismissed after a controversial call by the umpire. The Mi batsman moved across his crease and attempted a scoop over the fine-leg region and Malan’s took the catch. The on-field umpire gave a soft signal as ‘OUT’ and that tilted the things in England’s favour as the TV umpire felt that there was no conclusive evidence to overturn the on-field decision.
Iyer, who had earlier hit a boundary of the first ball, played a blinder scoring 37 runs off 18 deliveries while cameos from Thakur and Pandya aided the Indian team setting the visitors a target of 186. As for England, Mark Wood and Jofra Archer were the economical bowlers but the latter picked 4 wickets.
Defending a total isn’t a willing choice for the teams for a number of reasons as dew plays a massive role as it becomes tough to grip the ball and eases out the pitch. Bhuvneshwar bowled a maiden over to start the innings while Hardik Pandya followed it up with just a couple of runs. Jos Buttler was dismissed in the 3rd over as England got off to a slow start. The No. 1 ranked T20I side were going at 6 RPO till the 5th over but Washington Sundar conceded 17 off the last over of the powerplay.
The men in blue needed 107 off the last 9 overs and that’s when England changed gears. Stokes and Bairstow scored 52 runs off the next 22 balls until Bairstow was dismissed to keep themselves in the game.
The spinners struggled to grip the wet ball but Rahul Chahar picked a couple of wickets as well. In the latter stages, Hardik Pandya bowled a plethora of slower balls which England had no answers to while seasoned death overs specialist accuracy troubled skipper Eoin Morgan.
Jofra Archer’s hits gave India a mini scare in the latter half but fell short of 8 runs at the end of the innings.
The decider will be played on Saturday as both the teams will be pumped up to clinch the all-important series and acquire some much-needed confidence ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year in the same country.
Classic Virat Knock not Enough against Blazing Buttler
India vs England T20 Series: 1-2
3rd T20: England Won by 8 Wickets
After an aberration in the previous match, England stamped their authority over the men in blue in the 3rd T20I in Ahmedabad with a comfortable 8-wicket victory. Mark Wood and Jos Buttler starred in the win for the visitors as they regained the lead in the 5-match series.
Other than the death overs of the Indian innings, the entire match felt like a repeat of the opening match of the series. Mark Wood and Jofra Archer troubled the Indian top-order with express pace in the powerplay. Both the openers were struggling against the pace and bounce as Wood sent back KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma in the 3rd and 5th over of the innings respectively.
Ishan Kishan attempted an aggressive shot in the final over of the powerplay but couldn’t connect it as Chris Jordan scalped the key wicket of the half-centurion from the previous game as the hosts added just 24 runs for the loss of 3 wickets at the end of the 6th over mark.
Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli did well to resurrect the innings as they notched a 40-run stand for the 4th wicket but a mix-up between the skipper and the wicket-keeper resulted in the end of the partnership. Pant was well past his crease when Kohli called for the 3rd run due to a misfield from the England fielder, but the southpaw couldn’t complete the run in spite of the dive. Shreyas Iyer was unable to make an impact in his run-a-ball 9. Hardik Pandya, too, was troubled by the hard length and short deliveries as England bowlers were pretty much perfect with their execution.
But one man decimated the opposition bowlers like he was playing a different bowling attack, on a different pitch where batting was much easier, and that was Virat Kohli. As he lost partners at regular intervals, he could only manage 28 runs in his first 29 balls, but when he switched gears there was no turning back.
He produced an array of jaw-dropping shots to score 49 runs off his next 17 deliveries. The moment of the innings was when the skipper shuffled across his crease and pulled Mark Wood over mid-wicket on a delivery which was bowled at 147 KPH.
In spite of his heroics, India ended with a total of 156 and it wasn’t enough. Jason Roy was dismissed in the 4th over as Chahal made an impact in the powerplay but that was all for the Indian team in the chase.
Jos Buttler overshadowed Kohli’s brilliance as he attacked from the word go and silenced all the murmurs over the lack of runs from his bat. Chahal and Thakur went in excess of 10 RPO at the end of their spells.
Kohli missed a trick as he gave the ball to Washington Sundar post the power play but the off-spinner conceded just 26 runs at the end of his 4-over spell and also got the wicket of Dawid Malan.
The chase was a cakewalk for England as they completed it with 10 balls to spare. India is now in a do-or-die situation ahead of the last 2 games which will be played on the 18th and 20th.
Kohli and Kishan's masterclass sees India through
India vs England T20 Series: 1-1
2nd T20: India Won by 8 Wickets
After a crushing defeat in the first t20I, India equalised the series after a scintillating victory over the visitors in the 2nd T20I in Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad as debutant Ishan Kishan powered them in the chase, along with King Kohli.
There were no surprises at the start of the encounter as India won the toss and opted to bowl first. The Mumbai Indians duo of Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav were handed their India caps and the stage was set for their debut. Ishan Kishan replaced Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the batting order while SKY replaced Axar Patel as India went in with a pure batting option, thereby trusting Hardik Pandya to bowl his full quota of 4 overs.
They started off on a positive note as they got a wicket in the first over itself. Roy and Malan did well to resurrect the innings, but India remained in control throughout the innings. Roy took his calculated risks and smashed Chahal for maximum as well. But Chahal got the breakthrough as he dismissed Malan as the review came to the rescue.
For the second match in succession, Roy was dismissed in the latter side of the 40s by Washington Sundar. Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes, all scored 20-odd runs for the visitors as India’s slower deliveries weren’t picked well by the Englishman in the death overs. England was 130-4 at the end of the 15th over but could only manage 34 in the last 5 overs, as Thakur, Bhuvi and Pandya did well to restrict the world’s no. 1 T20I side.
Coming out to bat, India were fortunate as the conditions eased when the men in blue came out to bat with dew playing a key role for the pitch to ease up. Virat Kohli did mention in the post-match conference that the ball did come on to the bat nicely in the second half.
KL Rahul departed for a six-ball duck as India started with a wicket-maiden but the aggressive approach was evitable to see when Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli scored 50 runs over the next 5 overs. Kohli was dropped off Buttler early in his innings while Kishan was dropped when he was on 40 as the dropped catches helped India to a great extent. The skipper and the debutant notched a partnership of 94 for the 2nd wicket in which the keeper scored 56 off 32 balls which included 4 maximums and 5 boundaries.
One young keeper departed while another arrived but their methods were similar. Pant scored a 13-ball 26 and in the 14th over itself, when Pant was dismissed, India’s required run-rate was less than 6 RPO. The chase was a cakewalk for India as the home ticked all the boxed in today’s game.
Another major relief for the team was the captain's half-century. Kohli was dismissed for ducks in the last two innings but today it was a vintage Kohli show. India and England face-off again on Tuesday in the 3rd t20I at the same venue as both the teams will be aiming for a crucial lead.
England Draw the First Blood, again!
India vs England T20 Series: 0-1
1st T20: England Won by 8 Wickets
England brushed past India in the first t20I and inflicted an 8-wicket defeat on them as they chased a paltry target of 125 with 27 balls to spare and took a 1-0 lead in the 5-match series. Considering this big win, England now has the advantage with 4 matches to go and India will have to recover quickly before the second t20I.
England started off positively as KL Rahul played it onto the stumps while attempting a drive outside off and that was the start of India’s woes. The visitors were on a roll and hit the jackpot with their strategies as Adil Rashid bowled the first over of the match. Soon after, Rashid’s plan worked as Kohli was dismissed for a 5-ball duck when he faced Rashid for the first time.
Rishabh Pant did create some jaw-dropping moments as he played an action-replay of the reverse flick which he played against Anderson in the 4th and final test in Ahmedabad. This time it was Jofra Archer at the other end bowling a 141 kph full delivery and Pant giving the treatment to him.
Dhawan, too, was back in the pavilion soon after as India were struggling at 20/3 with the top 3 managing a grand total of 5 runs from the 21 balls they played.
India scored just 22 runs in the powerplay, their lowest score in the phase while batting first in the format. At the halfway stage, Rishabh Pant’s stay at the crease came to an end after 23-ball 21 and Shreyas Iyer at the other end was India’s lone warrior. Wickets kept falling at regular intervals as Hardik Pandya struggled throughout the innings as the majority of the balls bowled to him were hit on the hard length. Iyer and Pandya notched a half-century partnership but the partnership came to an end as Iyer was dismissed on the 2nd ball of the 18th over and India could manage just 124 runs in their innings.
Archer was the pick of the bowlers as he conceded just 23 runs in his 4-over spell and was later adjudged as the man of the match. Mark Wood and Adil Rashid gave him able support as England’s complete bowling performance dismantled the Indian batting line-up.
When England came out to chase, the chase was expected to be a cakewalk and it turned out the same. India gave the ball to Axar Patel and maybe the idea behind it was to give the to an in-form;left-arm spinner who could trouble the right-handed batsman but Roy and Buttler were comfortable with no pressure. With the target not being a challenging one, the openers were at ease throughout the chase.
It was surprising to see India not resorting to off-spinner Washington Sundar in the powerplay, a phase in which he was dominant in the IPL 2020. India just picked a couple of wickets in the innings as both the openers were dismissed LBW to the ball which turned into the right-handed batsman.
It was an unpleasant to experience for the Indian fans and the 68K people who watched the game inside the stadium expecting a dominant performance from Kohli and Co. which unfortunately wasn't the case.