India survive Stokes onslaught to set up T20 series decider

By Sports Desk March 18, 2021

India held their nerve to level the Twenty20 series against England at 2-2 thanks to a thrilling eight-run triumph at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

The home side posted 185-8 after being put in by Eoin Morgan, despite Jofra Archer claiming 4-33, while fellow pace bowler Mark Wood impressed again, taking 1-25 from his four overs.

However, for the first time in the five-match series, the team batting second were unable to reach their target, meaning the same venue in Ahmedabad will stage a winner-takes-all showdown between the teams on Saturday.

Jason Roy made 40 at the top of the England order and Ben Stokes smashed 46 at a strike-rate of 200 runs per 100 deliveries, only to be dismissed within sight of a first half-century in the format at international level.

Shardul Thakur dismissed Stokes and Morgan in successive deliveries at the start of the 17th over, yet it was all-rounder Hardik Pandya who was the pick of India's attack, finishing with figures of 2-16.

While Thakur was put under pressure when the equation of 23 runs from the final over was reduced to 10 off three balls, Archer's late boundary hitting was not enough for the tourists to snatch victory.

Suryakumar Yadav had earlier capitalised on the opportunity presented by an injury to Ishan Kishan, top-scoring with 57 from 31 deliveries for India. 

His innings included six fours and three sixes and proved crucial for the hosts, with openers Rohit Sharma (12 from 12 balls) and KL Rahul (14 from 17) once again struggling to gain momentum during the critical powerplay.

Virat Kohli had scored 150 runs without being dismissed in the previous two games, but India's captain was out for just one this time, beaten by a googly from Adil Rashid to be stumped by a distance. He finished the game off the field due to injury too, leaving Rohit in charge for the conclusion.

Rishabh Pant was also subdued in making 30, though Shreyas Iyer slammed 37 from just 18 deliveries to help compile comfortably the biggest total by either team in the series so far.

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  • ECB lacked ‘backbone’ for not calling out Lord Botham’s criticism of ICEC report ECB lacked ‘backbone’ for not calling out Lord Botham’s criticism of ICEC report

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    Joe Root is yet to reach 30 in six attempts and perished in the first innings to his specialised reverse ramp, which drew criticism from ex-England batters Sir Geoffrey Boycott and Michael Vaughan.

    Root’s dismissal led to England collapsing from 224 for two to 319 all out and conceding a first-innings deficit of 126, which ultimately proved a major moment in the Test.

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    Ahead of this Test, Stokes revealed he had made a “pinky promise” with England’s physiotherapist that he would not bowl on this tour following surgery on a longstanding knee injury in November.

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    Stokes added: “I’m not saying yes, I’m not saying no. I have progressed a lot faster than I thought I would. Me being me I’m always very optimistic about most things.

    “That will be a more detailed chat with the medical team about what workload I have done to pass me off as not being a massive risk.

    “I managed to bowl at 100 per cent in one of the warm up days here which made me feel pretty good.

    “I felt like I could have bowled in the game but that would have been stupid. It’s a work in progress, I have a lot of workload to put through the rest of my body.”

    While Ravindra Jadeja’s five for 41 helped bowl England out in 39.4 overs, Jaiswal amassed a stunning 214 not out as India racked up 430 for four before Rohit Sharma called him and Sarfaraz Khan in.

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    Stokes added: “If I said I didn’t think it was any good that would be a rogue thing – he’s a great player to watch, I enjoy watching good players play, even when it’s against me. He’s very special.”

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