Riding on Suryakumar Yadav’s blistering half century, and Hardik Pandya’s frugal spell, a determined India beat England by eight runs in the fourth T20 International to level the five-match series 2-2 in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
Shardul Thakur claimed three wickets while Hardik Pandya and Rahul Chahar took two each as India kept England to 177-/8 in their chase of 186 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
With the pressure to score mounting, Ben Stokes hit a defiant 46 off 23 deliveries before falling to Thakur as the series witnessed its first unsuccessful run chase.
Jofra Archer led a final run blitz and England needed 23 from the final over. Archer gave India a scare by hitting a six and a four, then there were two no balls and Archer’s bat broke going for a big hit as the visitors fell short.
“They were swinging hard in the last over, and it was important to bowl a couple of dot balls and then the game was sealed,” said Thakur.
Eoin Morgan said that India deserved their win in the match where dew made bowling difficult.
“They controlled large parts of the game,” the England captain admitted.
Jason Roy hit a quickfire 40 before England hit trouble at 66-3 but Stokes raised England’s hopes with a 65-run fourth-wicket stand with Jonny Bairstow, who made 25.
But Indian bowlers kept coming back with wickets and held their nerves at the end.
Invited to bat first, India scored 185/8 in the stipulated 20 overs, with Suryakumar Yadav (57) and Shreyas Yadav (37) doing the bulk of scoring at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Suryakumar’s 31-ball effort was his maiden half-century in international cricket and Iyer made his runs in just 18 balls, hitting five fours and a six, as India managed to put up a challenging total.
Suryakumar smashed three sixes and six fours during his stay in the middle.
India started strongly with Rohit Sharma hitting a six off the first ball of the innings.
Suryakumar also flicked Archer for a six over fine leg with the first ball he faced in an international innings after missing out on batting in the second match which India won. His innings came off just 31 balls and included three sixes and six fours.
Rishabh Pant (30) and Shreyas Iyer (37) also made useful innings.
England hit back with two quick wickets as Stokes sent back KL Rahul for 14 and skipper Virat Kohli was stumped off Adil Rashid’s googly.
Archer claimed four wickets including two in the 20th over to return his T20 best of 4-33.
Left-arm quick Sam Curran finally cut short Yadav’s innings with Dawid Malan taking a sharp catch which was repeatedly reviewed by the TV umpire to check whether it was a clean take in the deep.
The deciding match is on Saturday at the same venue.
India: 185 for 8 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 57, Shreyas Iyer 37, Rishabh Pant 30; Jofra Archer 4/33).
(With AFP and PTi inputs)