India outclasses England in T20I series decider
A wonderful all-round display by India helped guide them to victory over England in this final T20I match, giving India the 3-2 win in the series.
England won the toss and decided to bowl first at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, India.
Despite this, India’s 224/2 in 20 overs was too much for the visitors to match, managing only 188/8 after a terrible batting collapse.
India’s Kohli, Sharma ruin England’s bowlers
Eventual Player of this T20I Series, Virat Kohli, spearheaded the India attack, lasting all 20 overs not out and finishing with 80 runs off 52 balls, including 7 4s and 2 6s.
Around him, Rohit Sharma started strong, scoring 64 off 34 before smashing the ball off inside edge into the stumps from a Ben Stokes delivery 8.6 overs in.
The only other wicket India conceded was when Suryakumar Yadav (32 off 17) was caught out by Jason Roy after a superb effort from Chris Jordan kept the ball from going over the boundary.
Hardik Pandya’s 39 off 17 not out, including 4 4s and 2 6s, also added to England’s misery.
England’s batting: a rollercoaster of emotions
England’s start to their batting was poor, when on just the second delivery, courtesy of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Roy’s wild swing caught nothing but air, allowing the ball to smash into the stumps.
Jos Buttler’s 52 off 34 and Dawid Malan’s 68 off 46 gave England real hope in their attempt to steal this T20I series.
But once Buttler was dismissed from a Hardik catch at deep cover, and when Malan was bowled by Shardul Thakur (at which point England were 142/4) everything fell apart for England.
In just 7 overs, England had gone from 130/1 to 188/8. At one point, Jonny Bairstow, Malan and captain Eoin Morgan fell for just 2 runs in 7 deliveries – a testament to India’s tough bowling and England’s feeble batting.
England’s middle-order let them down
After a valiant century partnership from Butler and Malan, you would have thought that the England batters to follow would have been inspired by their performance and gone out there to get the win.
Disappointingly for England, that was far from the case.
Bairstow’s 7 off 7, Morgan’s 1 off 4 and Stokes’ 14 off 12 are simply not good enough, especially against a top team such as India.
Tim Wigmore from The Telegraph described England’s frustrating middle-order batting display as “tepid” whilst also adding how England’s attempt at batting was “futile”.
Sky Sports cricket expert and former England captain Nasser Hussain even said himself that the middle-order “needs looking at” following their defeat in the 4th T20I in the series.
For a team that’s supposedly one of the favourites heading into the T20 World Cup later this year, this isn’t the sort of batting display that you would be hoping to see.
Therefore, it’s hard not to agree with Wigmore and Hussain, as England – particularly those in the middle/lower-middle order – will no doubt have to show way more courage and bottle at the bat if they are to succeed at the World Cup later this year.
It’s either this, or the order of England’s batters needs to change, or even the selection if this problem continues to pester England.
India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s elite bowling
Whilst part of the blame for England’s loss will be aimed at the batting order, a lot of credit must be given to India’s Kumar and his elite bowling that pinned England back.
“It was the performance of Bhuvneshwar that proved the difference” said BBC Sport’s Stephan Shemilt, before adding how his “accuracy and trickery” proved too difficult for England’s batters to cope with.
And when you look at his numbers in this final T20I of the series, you’ll agree. An incredible 2/15 in 4 overs shows just how much England struggled when Kumar had the ball.
Furthermore, he was a big reason for England’s demise, when he conceded just 3 runs whilst also dismissing the high-scoring Buttler in the 13th over – a moment which swung the outcome probability of the game heavily in India’s favour.
“We totally outplayed the opposition”
Of course, it must be said how well India batted – even if England’s bowling was slightly flat.
India’s total of 224/2 was their highest ever score against England in a T20 match, showcasing just how strong of a performance the top end of India’s batters put in.
India captain Kohli, whose 80 without dismissal was huge in this match, mentioned during his post-match interview how his team “totally outplayed the opposition”.
Furthermore, he states that the fact they reached close to 230 without Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer even coming out to bat shows “what we can do with the bat when everyone fires”.
Following this performance, it would be hard – or stupid – to not fancy India as favourites for the T20 World Cup in October.
Reactions following India’s T20I series win over England
— Jay Shah (@JayShah) March 20, 2021
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) March 20, 2021
Ben Stokes is completely wasted at 6 as a batter and bowling part time.
Bairstow in T20’s is an opener.
If he doesn’t open, Stokes bats 4!
— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) March 20, 2021
India have adapted brilliantly in this series … the better team have won … Add @Jaspritbumrah93 & @imjadeja to this team in Indian conditions & they are favourites to win the T20 World Cup … Great series to watch .. #INDvsENG
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) March 20, 2021
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— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) March 20, 2021