Brief Scores: India 185/8 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 57, Shreyas Iyer 37; Jofra Archer 4-33, Sam Curran 1-16)beat England 177/8 in 20 overs (Ben Stokes 46, Jason Roy 40; Shardul Thakur 3-42, Hardik Pandya 2-16)by 8 runs.
Suryakumar Yadav, batting for the first time in international cricket, smashed a quick 57 in only 31 deliveries with the help of six fours and three sixes to help India post a formidable total on the board in a do or die game. Sent in to bat first yet again, the Men in Blue piled 185 for 8 in the 20 overs, a total that was ably defended by the four bowlers despite the presence of heavy dew at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad. Though the spinners were expensive on the night, with Rahul Chahar and Washington Sundar going for plenty, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur raised their game as they took the series till the decider on Saturday.
Here are the talking points from the fourth T20 International between India and England.
Suryakumar Yadav arrives in stellar fashion for India
A few games after Ishan Kishan made a stellar debut, his Mumbai Indians teammate Suryakumar Yadav started off his India journey with a bang as well. The batsman pulled Jofra Archer, the best T20 fast bowler in the world currently,into a six after the pacer unleashed a 140kmph delivery first up, Yadav stepped across the stumps and whipped him over the rope with ease to leave the Indian team and the fans in awe.
The 30-year old, who had played the most number of Indian Premier Leagues without playing for India, had time and again proven his skills in the shortest format of the game – both in the IPL and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. In fine form in IPL 2020, Yadav had been ignored for the T20Is against Australia last year, which had created a huge uproar, but he grabbed onto his chances as he became only the third cricketer in the world to smash a six off the first ball in T20Is for a six.
The player, coming into the XI for an injured Kishan, built on to his start and produced the shot of the day shortly after getting his fifty. He got down on one knee and lifted Sam Curran for a six, to display his versatility and his temperament. He has improved leaps and bounds in the IPL, and was banging on the doors for a selection for the last few seasons, and Yadav would be eager to continue his run in the upcoming IPL to seal a spot in the squad for the T20 World Cup later this year.
The saga of soft signals – do the rules need to be changed?
Not once but twice was the soft signal in the eye of the storm during the fourth T20 International on Thursday. It all began after Yadav skied a delivery off Curran to Dawid Malan at deep fine leg. With real time suggesting a clean catch from Malan as he kneeled and dived forward, the on-field umpires K N Ananthapadmanabtan and Nitin Menon gave the soft signal as out. The replays, however, seemed to suggest that the ball had been grassed as the ball slipped from Malan’s grasp but evidence was inconclusive. With the TV umpire needing concrete evidence to overturn the on-field, the lack of it meant that Yadav was dismissed. The debate, however, remains is whether there is a need for a soft signal from an umpire that is almost 50 yards away from the catch.
Yet another instance was when Adil Rashid seemed to have stepped on to the boundary ropes as he caught Washington Sundar. The soft signal was once again out, which was controversial yet again, as the on-field umpire had no angle to suggest whether Rashid had stepped on the ropes. The debate that came up was that the TV umpires should have the right to overrule on-field decisions without the burden of an existing law that asks for conclusive evidence.
The on-field umpires too should have the option of saying they are uncertain if a catch has been taken or not taken, which will allow the TV umpires to make a more unbiased decision.
Jason Roy achieves landmark
Jason Roy became only the sixth men’s cricketer from England to cross the 1000-run mark in the format in his knock of 40 off 27 deliveries against India on Thursday. Of all the players to have achieved the list, Roy has the best strike rate (of 142.62), which is evidence of how crucial he has been for England in the last few seasons. The list also has stalwarts like Eoin Morgan. Jos Buttler, ALex Hales and Kevin Pietersen.
Roy, who has reinvented his game after the England team decided to look past Hales after the latter failed a drug test just days ahead of the 2019 World Cup, has always been under the pump, as calls to have the team open with Ben Stokes keeps increasing. Roy, however, has handled the pressure well, and his next aim will be to get to the three figure mark that has only twice (by Dawid Malan and Alex Hales) been scaled by an English player in the format before.
“I’d say it’s been a bit of a stop-start T20 international career for me, really,” he said earlier this week. “I haven’t quite got going properly with those big scores, there’s been no hundreds, so that’s my target.
“To score a hundred in the T20 format, you have to be ultra-aggressive. You’re looking at facing a maximum of 60 balls, really: start in sixth gear up to the sixth over, then go down the gears and then back up again. It’s a mixture of aggression and pretty calculated stuff if you want to get those big scores.”