India v England: Hosts win fourth T20 by eight runs to set up series decider

4 weeks ago
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Dawid Malan
Fourth Twenty20, Ahmedabad
India 185-8: Suryakumar 57 (31), Iyer 37 (18); Archer 4-33
England 177-8: Stokes 46 (23), Roy 40 (27); Thakur 3-42, Pandya 2-16
India won by eight runs
Scorecard

India set up a series decider with an eight-run win over England in an absorbing fourth Twenty20 in Ahmedabad.

Suryakumar Yadav hit a sparkling 57 off 31 balls in his first international innings as the hosts posted a challenging 185-8 on the best batting surface of the series.

England struggled to get going but were still firmly in contention at 140-3 off 16 overs, only to lose Ben Stokes for 46 and Eoin Morgan in consecutive balls.

Needing 33 to win from the last two overs, Jofra Archer hit two fours and a six to set up a thrilling finale, but Shardul Thakur held his nerve as England finished on 177-8.

The first victory by the side batting first in this series means it is tied at 2-2 going into the final game at the same venue on Saturday.

India captain Virat Kohli spent the last few overs of the game off the field because of an “upper core” injury suffered in the field, but he said it was “nothing serious” and expects to be fit for the series finale.

England fall short of statement win

Had England managed to chase their target down, it would have ranked as one of their most impressive wins under Morgan, especially given the T20 World Cup will be held in India in October.

While Archer’s late onslaught made it close, England’s performance shows they have some issues to address, with most batsmen making circumspect starts while their Indian counterparts attacked from the off.

Dawid Malan is the world’s number one T20 batsman for good reason, but his tendency to play himself in proved costly here as he made 14 off 17 balls before being bowled round his legs by leg-spinner Rahul Chahar.

Jason Roy found some fluency after a scratchy start but fell for 40, hooking Hardik Pandya to deep mid-wicket to leave England 66-3 in the ninth over.

Jonny Bairstow and Stokes also started watchfully before starting to find the fence, with all-rounder Stokes hitting three mighty sixes before he picked out long-off.

The canny Thakur then removed Morgan, who put himself down the order to six, leaving the lower order with too much to do as India’s fine bowling performance showed winning the toss is not always a guarantee of victory.

Suryakumar shines

With both openers falling cheaply and Adil Rashid having Kohli stumped off a googly for only one, it seemed India might again fail to set an imposing total.

But the depths of their batting reserves proved vital as Suryakumar, who made his India debut in the second T20, shone in place of that game’s star, the injured Ishan Kishan.

Suryakumar hit his first delivery for six – an outrageous pull off Archer – setting the tone for an enthralling knock in which he reached 50 off 28 balls.

After sumptuously sweeping Sam Curran for six, he was dismissed in controversial fashion playing the same shot next up.

Malan took a low catch that was given a soft signal of out by the on-field umpires – a decision the third umpire had to stick by after multiple replays proved inconclusive as to whether Malan’s fingers were under the ball.

Rishabh Pant, who made 30 off 23 balls, and Shreyas Iyer, with 37 off 18, continued the momentum.

Although England checked it slightly late on – Stokes took a stunning one-handed catch to dismiss Pandya, and Archer struck twice in a superb last over to finish with 4-33, his best T20 figures for England – India had enough.

‘It’s all to play for’ – what they said

England captain Eoin Morgan: “India played a lot better than us today and thoroughly deserved to win. They adapted to conditions better.

“Stokes and Bairstow did the basics really well and got themselves in after we lost a couple of wickets. It was nice to get back in the game but frustrating, given our experience, not to have one or two guys out there at the end.

“It’s all to play for. To win a series away from home would be great.”

England all-rounder Ben Stokes: “It is a final – because if we don’t win, we lose the series. The more pressure we get put under as a team, the more that’s going to do for us in that World Cup, because World Cups can end very quickly.”

India captain Virat Kohli: “A proper game against a top side. Surya batted outstandingly well. Like Ishan Kishan, these guys are quite fearless having played against world-class bowlers in the IPL.

“With the ball we were quite clinical. Our powerplay start kept England in check and Shardul Thakur turned the game.”

Man of the match Suryakumar Yadav: “I am really happy with the way things went. I’ve always dreamed of playing for India and winning games for the team.”

India’s Shardul Thakur on bowling the final over: “It was a tough over and they were swinging hard. It was important to bowl one or two dot balls and then the game was sealed. Rohit said back your instincts and do whatever you think.”

England T20 bowler Tymal Mills told BBC Sport: “A really good game to watch, and nice to have a break from the win-the-toss-win-the-game streak. India just edged out England in all facets. Suryakumar Yadav was the standout with the bat Hardik Pandya with the ball.

“England will be disappointed not to wrap up the series, but it sets up a great finale on Saturday.”

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