Kohli leads the way as impressive India secure series win over England

By Sports Desk March 20, 2021

India clinched a 3-2 Twenty20 series victory over England after coming out on top in a high-scoring decider at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

The hosts triumphed by 36 runs as they prevailed for a second successive outing after being put into bat by visiting skipper Eoin Morgan, with the previous encounters all won by the team chasing.

Captain Virat Kohli – shifted up to open – led the way with 80 not out as India amassed 224-2, their fourth highest total in the shortest format.

Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan both made half-centuries as England raced out of the blocks in reply, yet their chase ran out of steam. Unable to hit boundaries regularly when it mattered, they finished up on 188-8.

India had also made a fast start when they batted thanks mainly to Rohit Sharma. He dominated an opening partnership worth 94, belatedly making a major contribution in the series with 64 from just 34 deliveries.

Ben Stokes finally ended the initial onslaught thanks to an inside edge onto the stumps, though there was little respite for England's bowlers as the runs continued to flow.

Suryakumar Yadav (32) wasted little time in going on the attack, hitting the second and third deliveries he faced during an Adil Rashid over for six, though the leg-spinner would later dismiss the right-hander thanks to a stunning catch in the deep.

Jason Roy ended up holding the ball, though his role was a minor one. Chris Jordan had taken a superb one-handed effort on the run from long-on, then passed it on to his waiting team-mate before stepping over the boundary.

Still, Hardik Pandya capitalised on his promotion up to four with 39 not out, combining with Kohli to add 81. Mark Wood and Chris Jordan both registered unwanted half-centuries with the ball, while Jofra Archer finished with 0-43 from his four overs.

England lost Jason Roy for a duck in the first over, yet Buttler and Malan made 52 and 68 respectively to keep the game firmly in the balance.

However, amid the run-scoring carnage, Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed 2-15, including the crucial wicket of Buttler. The seam bowler's economical four overs helped put the brakes on England, who were 104-1 at the halfway stage before slipping off the pace.

World Cup on the horizon

The top two-ranked nations in T20 cricket did not disappoint in a series that offered the opportunity to explore options ahead of the World Cup on Indian soil later this year.

Kohli finished up averaging 115.5, yet new faces Yadav and Ishan Kishan also caught the eye for India with the bat. Similarly, Malan – who became the fastest player to 1,000 international runs in the format – showed in the finale how he can change his approach, depending on the match situation.

Jordan goes the distance

Not for the first time in his career, Jordan produced a sensational catch, this time to see off Yadav. However, while a fantastic asset in the field, he has struggled to have an impact with the ball in the five games.

Between overs 17-20, Jordan has been hit for eight sixes in the series. That is five more than the rest of the England attack combined, while an economy rate of 13.5 in that period will be a concern for captain Morgan.

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