A blistering half-century from Suryakumar Yadav, followed by a brilliant performance from the bowlers, helped India win the fourth T20I of the ongoing five-match series against England here at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday evening.
With the eight-run win over England, India have levelled the series 2-2 with the series decider to be played on Saturday at the same venue.
Chasing 186, Jason Roy and Jos Buttler opened the innings for the side. Bhuvneshwar Kumar started with a maiden over just the way India wanted. From the other end, skipper Virat Kohli brought Hardik Pandya into the attack. Pandya also did not concede many runs in his over.
Buttler was not able to soak the pressure and got out against Bhuvneshwar in the third over after scoring nine runs off six balls. Dawid Malan, who came in to bat at number three, along with Roy kept the scoreboard moving and made full use of the powerplay overs. The duo added 45 runs for the second wicket stand before Rahul Chahar removed Malan (14) in the eighth over.
In the next over, Pandya sent Roy back to the pavilion. The right-handed batsman played a fiery knock of 40 runs off 27 balls. After Roy’s dismissal, England’s score read 66/3 in 8.5 overs. However, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes continued scoring runs at a brisk pace and kept England in the hunt. The duo smashed the ball to all parts of the ground and added 65 off just 36 balls for the fourth wicket.
In the 15th over, much to India’s respite, Washington Sundar removed Bairstow (25). Skipper Eoin Morgan joined Stokes in the middle. Pacer Shardul Thakur brought the hosts back in the game as he scalped two crucial wickets of Stokes and Morgan on successive balls in the 16th over. Thakur picked Stokes (46) on the first ball and on the next delivery, he removed Morgan (4) to leave the visitors reeling at 140/6.
Stokes’ knock came off 23 balls, studded with three sixes and four fours. Sam Curran (3) and Chris Jordan came to rescue the side but the former failed to get going and was dismissed by Pandya in the 18th over.
In the last over, England needed 23 runs and the visitors accumulated 11 of the first three balls but Thakur came back strong and gave three runs off the next three balls, including Jordan’s (12) wicket. Jofra Archer remained unbeaten on 18 off eight balls as England reached 177/8 in their allotted 20 overs.
For the hosts, Thakur bagged three wickets while Pandya and Chahar claimed two scalps each. Earlier, batting for the first time in international cricket, Suryakumar hit a classy 31-ball 57 to ensure India posted a competitive 185/8.
If Surya showed nerves of steel as he hit the first ball he faced — off Archer — for a six, Rishabh Pant (30) and Shreyas Iyer (37) played fearless cricket as the hosts looked in complete control with bat in hand. The score could have gone over the 200-run mark, but Archer’s four-wicket haul restricted the hosts from running away with the game.
Put into bat, Rohit Sharma made his intentions clear from ball number one as he smashed the first ball of the match bowled by Adil Rashid for a six over the long-off boundary. The first over saw 12 runs being scored and the other batter KL Rahul also opened his mark after registering two ducks in this series.
However, Archer and Mark Wood were able to create pressure in the next two overs and this brought about Rohit’s (12) dismissal in the fourth over of the innings. Suryakumar announced his arrival in international cricket with style as he sent Archer into the stands off the very first ball. After the end of the sixth over, India’s score read 45/1.
The right-hander kept on attacking from one end, but Rahul (14) stayed in his shell and this brought about his dismissal, reducing India to 63/2 in the eighth over as the opener looked to hit out. In the very next over, Rashid had Kohli (1) stumped and the situation asked for the hosts to rebuild their innings. This was the eighth time in international cricket that Rashid got the better of the talismanic Indian batsman.
The biggest turning point came in the 14th over of the innings as Surya (57) was sent back to the pavilion by Curran. The right-handed batsman tried to play a ramp shot but Malan ended up taking the catch. Replays indicated that the ball might have hit the ground when Malan was taking the catch, however, as the soft signal was out, the third umpire stayed with the on-field call citing “lack of conclusive evidence”.
In the final four overs, Iyer continued to march on, but he did not find much support at the other end, and Archer showed his class and in the end, the hosts were restricted to under the 190-run mark.
Brief scores: India 185/8 (Suryakumar Yadav 57, Shreyas Iyer 37; Jofra Archer 4-33); England 177/8 (Ben Stokes 46, Jason Roy 40; Shardul Thakur 3-42, Hardik Pandya 2-16).