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India beat England by 36 runs to clinch T20I series 3-2
New Delhi, March 20, 2021
India produced a well-coordinated show to win the T20I series against England with a 3-2 margin that truly established the difference between the teams. India played the crucial phases most professionally even as England made a spirited charge at the target of 225 at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday.
After England lost Jason Roy fell to the second ball of the chase it was a rollicking 130-run stand for the second wicket between Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan that left India in a bit of concern.
Mala made 68 and Buttler 52, but their efforts were simply not enough today as the visitors could manage only 188/8 from their 20 overs. For India, Shardul Thakur picked up three for 45 runs.
The 36–run victory brought to an end an intensely contested T20I series, giving the Indian team management options for the season ahead of the T20 World Cup.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who took two for 15 and was chosen Player of the Match, was the pick of the Indian bowlers even as Shardul Thakur gave him adequate support. The two would have given reasons enough for bowling coach B. Arun to pat himself for he had backed Thakur and Bhuvaneshwar to excel in this format of the game. The performance of Bhuvneshwar was exemplary given the way he shackled the English batsmen.
Things worked well for India in the fifth and final T20I against England with a change in the batting order brought about by the need to have an extra bowler.
K L Rahul paved the way for T. Natarajan in a tactical adjustment which saw Virat Kohli take the role of an opener. It was hard on Rahul but it was a process that underlined India’s capacity to innovate as it forged a flexible response.
Kohli opening with Rohit Sharma put the English attack under pressure and it did not surprise anyone when they plundered runs off the attack. Kohli and Rohit confronted the attack on all fronts, pulling off some stunning shots and dominating with an attitude that characterised the strength of the batting line-up.
Kohli was happy to play the second fiddle. With Rohit in flow at the other end, it was the best thing to do for Kohli. Watch the action as Rohit dismantled the bowlers with an onslaught that must have gladdened the hearts of the team management. This was vintage Rohit, playing the pull shot with disdain and not letting any loose ball go unpunished. The scorching shots that flew off Rohit’s bat inspired his partner Kohli to indulge in a healthy competition.
Rohit’s contribution in the opening stand was 64 of 34 balls (four 4s and five 6s). His place was taken by Suryakumar Yadav who got into his responsibility to belt the bowlers in a stirring knock of 32 off 17 balls (three 4s and two 6s). His super knock ended to a super fielding effort by Chris Jordan, who ran a good distance at long on, lobbed the ball to Jason Roy, waiting in anticipation to complete the catch. A pity the scoresheet may not record Jordan’s spectacular effort.
Kohli meanwhile went about picking runs at will, from boundaries and sixes, and firmly justified his promotion as opener for this match.
Hardik Pandya also helped himself to a decent 39 and India put on 224 for two with the in-form Rishabh Pant not even getting to bat a ball. It was a challenging total for England to chase.
Kohli was chosen Player of the Series.
India 224 for two in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 80 not out, Rohit Sharma 64, Hardik Pandya 39 not out, Suryakumar Yadav 32) beat England 188/8 in 20 overs (Dawid Malan 68, Jos Buttler 52, Shardul Thakur 3/45, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/15)