Brief Scores: England 164/6 (Jason Roy 46; Washington Sundar 2-29, Shardul Thakur 2-29) lost to India 166/3 in 17.5 overs (Virat Kohli 73*, Ishan Kishan 56; Sam Curran 1-22) by 7 wickets
Team India roared back to level the 5 match T20I series against England with a thumping 7 wicket win at Motera in Ahmedabad on Sunday. After sending England in to bat first, the Indian bowlers ensured that the rivals did not race away with the game as they varied their pace well to restrict the run flow. Though going in with only five bowlers, with Hardik Pandya as the fifth bowler, seemed a gamble at the start of the game, the bowlers stepped up as India never felt the need for another option. Shardul Thakur was spectacular at the death, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar was excellent in the powerplay overs, with Hardik doing the job in the middle. Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli easily chased down 165 to help India level the series.
Here are the talking points from the second T20 International between India and England.
Ishan Kishan announces his arrival in style
Ishan Kishan, who ended as the leading run scorer for Mumbai Indians in the last edition of the Indian Premier League, was asked to open the innings on Sunday alongside KL Rahul. Kishan was making his debut in the game along with fellow Mumbai Indians team mate Suryakumar Yadav. While the latter did not get a chance to bat, Kishan had the tough task of facing the pacey deliveries of Jofra Archer upfront, and little did he disappoint as he started off with intent and determination.
The 22 year old displayed his vast array of strokes as he displayed his temperament and skills in front of a crowd of 67,000. He used his feet well, and started off proceedings by pushing a 140kmph delivery from Archer into the offside. He did not attempt any risky hits in his stay – there were no ramp shots or flicks over the keeper or flips- as Kishan focused on playing proper cricketing shots. There were plenty of pulls, cover drives, shots over long on and hooks over square leg. He was impressive through the leg side, and wowed the crowd with his fearlessness as he took apart the best bowlers in the world.
His disappointment at getting dismissed despite a well made fifty on debut as he wanted to finish the game for the side is evidence of the hunger in the Jharkhand player, and he looks well set for a long term.
Jason Roy sweeps, fails, sweeps and succeeds
The English opener Jason Roy gave the best example of “try, try, try till you succeed” as he looked to reverse sweep the ball on three occasions through backward point only to see the bat not connecting. However, Roy did not give up and nailed the sweep finally in the fourth ball of the ninth over that was sent down by Yuzvendra Chahal. The bowler sent down a wide, and Roy had another opportunity to sweep as he looped one over the fielder. Before this series, Roy had scored 130 runs from 62 sweeps – the second most successful player of sweeps in the format. George Musey of Scotland tops the charts.
Though Roy did not play the most aesthetic looking innings, he played an effective knock of 46 that came in 35 deliveries with the help of four boundaries and two sixes. With a lot of pressure at the top of the order – a number of players are waiting in the wings, with many even believing that Ben Stokes should open the innings – Roy has remained under tremendous pressure but with two important knocks in the two games thus far, the batsman seems to have silenced critics, at least for the moment.
Hardik Pandya passes the fitness test
Hardik Pandya had emerged as a crucial all rounder for India in all formats of the game till a freak back injury and a subsequent surgery meant that he could not bowl as before. He last bowled four overs in a T20I game in October 2019, when he ended with figures of 1 for 31, and did not complete his quota in any game in the Indian Premier League for Mumbai Indians last season.
The decision, then, to drop Axar Patel and strengthen the batting with Suryakumar Yadav taking his place, was considered a risk, as it meant that Pandya was the fifth bowler who would have to send down all his four overs. In the first T20 International on Friday, Pandya had just sent down two overs – which were his first since he regained full fitness.
The player did not disappoint as he entered the attack in the sixth over, just when England were starting to find their groove. The ball was no longer hard and was not skidding off the surface, which meant that the Baroda cricketer had to bowl into the track and push the rival players back into their crease.
He conceded nine runs an over in his first three overs, but England only found two fours off his bowling – one which was off a misfield. He sent down his 4th over in the 17th over of the innings, with Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes at the crease, and was tough to play as he conceded only six runs with two dot balls.
The return to fitness of Pandya is of great importance considering India can chop and change their XI depending on the pitch conditions, which allows them flexibility and adaptability. Kohli stressed on the workload management of Pandya ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year, and it would not be a surprise if the latter does not bowl his four overs regularly in the IPL to remain fit for the World Cup.