India vs England: Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Bhuvneshwar Kumar Star as India Seal Series
Rohit Sharma’s sensational 64, Virat Kohli’s well-crafted 80 and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s miserly spell in a high scoring match helped India beat England by 36 runs in the final T20I at Motera and seal the series 3-2.
Put in to bat, India powered to a massive 224 for 2, their best ever total against England. Rohit smashed 64 off 34, Kohli made 80* off 52 while Hardik Pandya (39* off 17) and Suryakumar Yadav (32 off 17) played useful cameos. In reply, Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan made half-centuries for England but they managed only 188 for 8.
Bhuvneshwar bowled a sensational spell of 4-0-15-2 with 17 dot balls to give India the win in a high scoring game. Shardul Thakur picked up three wickets.
Jofra Archer and Mark Wood had troubled the Indians with their extra pace in earlier games but Rohit and Kohli sent them to the cleaners on way to their 94-run stand.
The other major contributions came from Suryakumar Yadav (32 off 17 balls) and Hardik Pandya (39 not out off 17 balls).
The hosts hammered 67 runs in the last five overs to give the innings a perfect finish.
Barring Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid, all England bowlers leaked more than 10 runs per over with Chris Jordan (0/57) being the most expensive.
India decided to drop opener K L Rahul to accommodate an extra bowling option in left-arm pacer T Natarajan for the all important game.
With no Rahul at the top, Virat Kohli moved himself up the order to open with Rohit. The move worked wonders with Kohli and Rohit sharing a 94-run stand off 54 balls.
Rohit did the bulk of the scoring in their partnership as Kohli was more than happy to enjoy a sensational display of stroke-making from the other end.
Rohit, who was rested for the first two games and did not get much in the next two, enhanced his reputation of a big match player on Saturday.
Most of his five sixes were his trademark shot, the seemingly effortless pull over deep square leg. Also a treat to the eye were his rasping straight drives off a seriously quick Mark Wood in his first over.
Kohli too pulled Wood into the stands, a shot that got him fully pumped up.
It was not entirely a surprise that Rohit got to his fifty with a maximum before playing one on to his stumps off Stokes.
As Kohli paced his innings at the other end, he had the company of a supremely confident Suryakumar, who carried on from where he left in his debut game.
The Mumbai batsman further increased the intensity of the innings with two consecutive sixes off leggie Adil Rashid. Then he toyed with pacer Jordan with three fours in a row with his scoop shot reminding of his exploits in the IPL. That over went for 19, taking India to 133 for one in 12 overs.
Kohli then partnered with Hardik to get India past 200.
England’s chase started on a wrong note with Bhuvneshwar Kumar rattling Jason Roy’s stumps in the second ball, the batsman falling for a duck. However, Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan counter attacked in fine fashion to put England on track.
Malan got going in the second over with Hardik Pandya conceding 18. Washington Sundar then conceded 13 in his first over as England continued their charge. Buttler and Malan ensured England got 62 in the Power Play, two more than what India managed.
After the Power Play, Buttler took the attack to Rahul Chahar, whose two overs went for 27 as England crossed 100 within 10 overs.
England were 127 for 1 in 12 overs with both batsmen crossing half-centuries when India turned to the experience of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who gave the breakthrough immediately with a slower one that Buttler sent to long off. The runs dried out in the next couple of overs, which resulted in Shardul Thakur getting two in the 15th over, dismissing Jonny Bairstow and Malan. Hardik had Eoin Morgan in the next over, bringing an end to the challenge.
(With PTI inputs)