Indian players celebrate with the winners’ trophy after their victory in the fifth Twenty20 match against England on Saturday. AP
Pacer Shardul Thakur took his second consecutive three-wicket haul while Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled a miserly spell, taking two wickets, after captain Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 80, to help India beat England in the fifth and final T20 International by 36 runs, and win the series 3-2 on Saturday.
Rohit Sharma, who smashed 64 off 34 balls (4x4s, 5x6s), was the other star for India while Dawid Malan’s 46-ball 68 and Jos Buttler’s 34-ball 52 went in vain in the floodlit game played without spectators due to Covid-19.
Bhuvneshwar was adjudged the Man of the Match while Kohli, who aggregated 231 runs in five matches at an average of 115.50 and at a strike rate of 147.13, was adjudged the Man of the Series.
England’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss backfired as the pitch turned out to be a perfect strip for batting.
Indian players walk after posing with the trophy after winning the Twenty20 series against England. AFP
Kohli (52 balls, 7x4s, 2x6s), playing as an opener, and Sharma gave a perfect platform to later order batsmen as they made 94 runs in almost nine overs for opening wicket.
After Ben Stokes bowled Sharma, Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav (32, 17 balls, 3x4s, 2x6s) added 49 runs for the second wicket. India scored 224 for two wickets in 20 overs -- their highest score against England.
In reply, England made 188 for eight wickets in 20 overs, with Malan scoring 68 (9x4s, 2x6s) and Buttler making a rapidfire 52 (2x4s, 4x6s). But the asking rate proved to be a tough task for the other batsmen and they caved under pressure.
England never really looked into the game, barring the Buttler-Malan association. They began poorly as Bhuvneshwar dealt the initial blow by dismissing Jason Roy off only the second ball of the innings. Buttler and Malan then repaired the damage and raised 130 priceless runs for the second wicket.
That turned out to be the only meaningful attempt at the chase, as wickets fell at regular intervals after Bhuvneshwar broke the second-wicket stand by dismissing Buttler.
India and England now go into the last leg of the series, three One-day Internationals in Pune beginning on March 23.
Meanwhile, England captain Eoin Morgan on Saturday said his side couldn’t hold on to big moments that saw them lose the five-match T20 International series.
“India outplayed us in big moments and deserved to win. We had our big moments in this series but we weren’t able to take advantage of that with our middle order,” said Morgan at the post match presentation.
The left-handed batsman, who led his side to the 2019 World Cup triumph, added that they will take home lessons of playing India away from home.
R Sharma b Stokes 64
V Kohli not out 80
S Yadav c Roy b Rashid 32
H Pandya not out 39
Extras (lb3, w6) 9
Total (20 overs, 2 wickets) 224
Fall of wickets: 1-94 (Sharma), 2-143 (Yadav)
Bowling: Rashid 4-0-31-1, Archer 4-0-43-0 (w5), Wood 4-0-53-0 (w1), Jordan (4-0-57-0, Curran 1-0-11-0, Stokes 3-0-26-1
England (target 225)
J Roy b Kumar 0
J Buttler c Pandya b Kumar 52
D Malan b Thakur 68
J Bairstow c Yadav b Thakur 7
E Morgan c sub (Rahul) b Pandya 1
B Stokes c Pant b Natarajan 14
C Jordan c Yadav b Thakur 11
J Archer run out (Yadav/Pant) 1
S Curran not out 14
A Rashid not out 0
Extras (lb9, w11) 20
Total (20 overs, 8 wickets) 188
Bowling: Kumar 4-0-15-2 (w41), Pandya 4-0-34-1 (w4), Sundar 1-0-13-0, Thakur 4-0-45-3, Natarajan 4-0-39-1, Chahar 2-0-33-0 (W3)
Result: India won by 36 runs
Series: India won the five-match series 3-2
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