India secured a 3-2 T20 series victory with a 36-run win in the final match against England in Ahmedabad.
Superb batting from the deadly partnership of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli set England up to chase a mammoth score of 225.
England’s Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler fought back placing them ahead of India in the powerplay, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar soon took the wind out of England’s sails after having Buttler caught for 52. England’s hopes were dashed once Stokes fell and India took control of the game.
With only seven months until the T20 World Cup, it looks like India are now favourites for the tournament.
Player of the series Virat Kohli said: “It was a complete game for us. We totally outplayed the opposition. The fact Rishabh and Shreyas didn’t get the chance to bat and still got close 230 is testament to how [well] we did with the bat.”
India’s gamble to drop a batsman for an extra bowler paid off as they only lost two wickets. Rohit and Kohli were the perfect pair to tackle the pressure of opening the game, scoring 64 off 34 and 80 off 52, respectively. Kohli played an important role in anchoring the innings, allowing Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya to thrive.
Yadav and Pandya shone once again, demonstrating very skilful strokeplay. They produced fierce scores of 32 and 39 off 17 balls each.
England are the number one side in the world so it was important to beat them and show we are in the race too
– Shardul Thakur
Ultimately, unlike England, India held their nerve. Player-of-the-match, Kumar achieved a remarkable 2-15 from four overs and Shardul Thakur claimed three crucial wickets.
Thakur said, “England are the number one side in the world so it was important to beat them and show we are in the race too.”
“It’s most important to do the job for the team, wickets don’t matter, winning the games matter.”
England’s chase began with Roy falling for a duck but Malan and Buttler recovered with a spectacular 130-run partnership.
Malan has been criticised for his tendency to start off slow but this time he came out swinging. He nailed nine boundaries and ended on an impressive 68 runs off 46 balls. This was his 11th 50+ score in an international T20 match. Similarly, Buttler racked up a thrilling half-century (52 off 34) but was soon dismissed and the following wickets fell like dominoes.
Chris Jordan put on a mighty spectacle with an incredible catch near the boundary, but this couldn’t offset his poor bowling figures of 0-57.
Despite performing well throughout the series, it was not Mark Wood’s day, as he finished on a disappointing 0-53.
England captain Eoin Morgan emphasised that the loss will only make England better in the future:
“[It has been] Extremely productive. To play a strong India team in their own conditions was fantastic. Ideally we would have played on wickets that turned more just to get that exposure. Regardless of the result we are looking to grow and get better. We played some really good cricket. There are a lot of positives to build on.
“The huge plusses are the powerplay bowling. I have to commend Adil Rashid for taking on a new role. India are running hot at the moment. Our middle order didn’t fire throughout the series.”