The template for the Indian men’s cricket team in 2021 seems to be set: lose the first match of the series, come from behind to clinch the trophy.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma powered India to their best ever Twenty20 score against England as they clinched the series 3-2 with a convincing 36-run win in the decider on Saturday.
India captain Kohli hit an unbeaten 80 and shared an opening stand of 94 with Sharma, who made a blistering 64, as India reached 224/2 in Ahmedabad.
After losing Jason Roy on the second ball of the innings, Dawid Malan made 68 and Jos Buttler 52 off 34 deliveries. But England could not keep up the chase and finished on 188/8.
Indian seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who bowled Roy for a duck, returned magnificent figures of 2/15 to be named player of the match.
The win was an important confidence boost for India before they host the T20 World Cup in October. They have won or drawn their last eight series.
Kohli said the result showed what India, just behind top-ranked England in the world T20 international rankings, can do when they are “firing”.
Here are some reactions to the series win and India’s performances:
For the second straight match, Morgan won the toss and saw India’s batters surge ahead.
Kohli promoted himself to the opening slot with Sharma and the pair took advantage of a good batting wicket to help India past their previous best of 218 against England at the 2007 World Twenty20 in Durban.
Sharma hit five sixes in his 34-ball blitz before he dragged a slower leg-cutter from Ben Stokes onto his stumps.
“Tonight it was classic Rohit Sharma; the way he bats,” said Kohli, who was named player of the series for his 231 runs, including three half-centuries in five matches.
“At the top of the order if he can play like that more regularly, freely and not worry about playing through to 15-16 overs, it’s going to be a lot of damage for the opposition.”
Suryakumar Yadav kept up the attack with a flurry of sixes and fours in his 32 off 17 balls, but a stunning fielding manoeuvre by Chris Jordan cut short his innings.
Yadav hit an Adil Rashid ball towards the boundary for a likely six and Jordan sprinted from long-on to attempt a one-handed catch.
He flicked the ball to Roy who completed the relay catch with a laugh.
“It is a joy to watch and it takes the experience to a whole new level for fans,” Morgan said of Jordan’s stunning effort.
Kohli, who hit seven fours and two sixes in his 52-ball knock, stood firm and along with Hardik Pandya, who smashed 39, put on 81 for the third wicket.