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.

India held their nerve to level the Twenty20 series against England at 2-2 thanks to a thrilling eight-run triumph at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

The home side posted 185-8 after being put in by Eoin Morgan, despite Jofra Archer claiming 4-33, while fellow pace bowler Mark Wood impressed again, taking 1-25 from his four overs.

However, for the first time in the five-match series, the team batting second were unable to reach their target, meaning the same venue in Ahmedabad will stage a winner-takes-all showdown between the teams on Saturday.

Jason Roy made 40 at the top of the England order and Ben Stokes smashed 46 at a strike-rate of 200 runs per 100 deliveries, only to be dismissed within sight of a first half-century in the format at international level.

Shardul Thakur dismissed Stokes and Morgan in successive deliveries at the start of the 17th over, yet it was all-rounder Hardik Pandya who was the pick of India's attack, finishing with figures of 2-16.

While Thakur was put under pressure when the equation of 23 runs from the final over was reduced to 10 off three balls, Archer's late boundary hitting was not enough for the tourists to snatch victory.

Suryakumar Yadav had earlier capitalised on the opportunity presented by an injury to Ishan Kishan, top-scoring with 57 from 31 deliveries for India. 

His innings included six fours and three sixes and proved crucial for the hosts, with openers Rohit Sharma (12 from 12 balls) and KL Rahul (14 from 17) once again struggling to gain momentum during the critical powerplay.

Virat Kohli had scored 150 runs without being dismissed in the previous two games, but India's captain was out for just one this time, beaten by a googly from Adil Rashid to be stumped by a distance. He finished the game off the field due to injury too, leaving Rohit in charge for the conclusion.

Rishabh Pant was also subdued in making 30, though Shreyas Iyer slammed 37 from just 18 deliveries to help compile comfortably the biggest total by either team in the series so far.

Jos Buttler played a starring role as his 83 not out saw England reclaim the advantage in their T20 series in India with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory on Tuesday.

England are on the brink of a first T20 series victory over India, now leading 2-1 with two matches to play.

In a match played behind closed doors at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium due to coronavirus restrictions, the tourists limited India to 156-6 despite a fantastic unbeaten 77 from captain Virat Kohli.

But England had few issues reaching their target, Buttler and Jonny Bairstow (40 not out) finishing things off to move within one win of a series victory. The two sides do battle again at the same venue on Thursday.

After an impressive India run chase to win the second match, England opted to bowl first when they won the toss and chasing once again proved to be the successful strategy.

Jofra Archer (0-32) dropped a return catch offered by Rohit Sharma (15) with his first ball bowled but Mark Wood - the fast bowler in electrifying form to claim 3-31 -  bowled KL Rahul for his second straight duck. The opener has one run in his past four T20I innings.

India did not get a boundary until the 21st ball and even then it was a fortuitous inside edge for Rohit.

He soon followed Rahul to the dressing room when Wood struck again in the fifth over, before Chris Jordan (2-35) had Ishan Kishan – man of the match on his debut last time out – caught behind for just nine.

Kohli and Rishabh Pant (25) slowly steadied the ship until the latter was run out and India looked out of contention at 87-5 with five overs to spare.

But Kohli starred to ensure his team at least had a score to defend by the time Hardik Pandya (15) was out from the last ball of the innings.

Jason Roy (9) and Dawid Malan (18) did not get going for England but Buttler was in control of the run chase, his 52-ball knock containing four maximums.

Buttler and Bairstow put on 77 together as England coasted to their target with 10 balls to spare.
 

Kohli spectacular again

India skipper Kohli scored 73 not out in the second match and he was even better here in another unbeaten innings.

He scored 77 runs from 46 balls with 12 boundaries - eight fours and four sixes.

The hosts scored 69 runs in the final five overs, an astonishing 49 of them going to Kohli in just 17 balls. Only Yuvraj Singh (58) has ever scored more in the last five overs of a T20I for India.

The only negative note for Kohli individually was when he dropped Buttler at point, but by then the result was beyond doubt.

100 up for Morgan

Eoin Morgan became the first England player and just the fourth cricketer to reach 100 T20I appearances.

It was fitting that England won to mark the occasion, though Morgan himself had one of his quieter games having not been required to bat.

The explosive England captain has 113 career sixes, a stat that puts him third overall and only behind Martin Guptill and Rohit in the shortest format.

The remainder of the Twenty20 International series between India and England will be played behind closed doors as coronavirus cases increase again in the host country.

India, who claimed a 3-1 Test series victory earlier this month, drew level with their visitors in the 20-over format with victory in Sunday's second match.

But the final three encounters will go ahead without fans in the stadiums.

Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium is hosting all five matches and welcomed supporters in large numbers for the first two limited-overs meetings.

However, India has seen another rise in positive COVID-19 tests, with over 24,000 new cases reported on Monday.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) subsequently confirmed it had been told of the change in plans, although it added the decision would have no impact on the England team.

"We have just received confirmation that the remaining T20I matches will take place without spectators," the ECB said in a statement released to Stats Perform News.

"We have also seen the statement by the vice-president of the Gujarat Cricket Association confirming the fact.

"Aside from meaning there will be considerably less noise in the stadium, it doesn't materially affect us as we remain in our bubble and, even when crowds were in attendance, we never came into contact with any of them, and the ball was sanitised whenever it was hit into the stands."

Ishan Kishan enjoyed a stellar India debut as his brilliant 56 helped Virat Kohli's side to a seven-wicket triumph over England in the second Twenty20 International.

Hunting a record-setting, seventh successive oversees T20 victory, England were put in to bat in front of a vociferous, 70,000-strong crowd in Ahmedabad, where Jason Roy's 46 was not followed up as the tourists managed a relatively modest 164-6

Ishan took the chance to shine, the 22-year-old carrying his IPL form onto the international stage with a superb innings which included five fours and four sixes.

Rishabh Pant offered a great cameo of 26 from 13, before Kohli (73), who survived a lengthy stumping review, guided India to a convincing win that ties the series at 1-1.

The captain's decision-making paid off from the outset as he bowled first and Bhuvneshwar Kumar pinned Jos Buttler leg before three deliveries in, yet cool shots from Dawid Malan (24) and Roy put England on the front foot.

With Malan going lbw on review, Bhuvneshwar took a good catch on the boundary to send Roy packing four short of his half-century, before Jonny Bairstow looped to Suryakumar Yadav.

England still looked in a strong position, yet Eoin Morgan (28) and Ben Stokes (24) failed to capitalise on sluggish bowling late on.

KL Rahul's early dismissal then represented a promising start with the ball for England, but Ishan subsequently came to the fore.

With Kohli at the other end, the debutant set about dismantling England's attack, the pair's 16 from the final over of the powerplay putting the hosts in the driving seat.

Dropped by Stokes on 40, Ishan made England pay, surpassing 50 with successive sixes off Adil Rashid, although his magnificent innings came to an end when he was trapped lbw later in the same over.

Pant picked up where Ishan left off, lashing Rashid deep into the crowd before he sent Chris Jordan for 10 from two deliveries, only to pick out Bairstow with the next ball.

Having allowed the supporting cast their moments in the spotlight, Kohli picked his time to shine, moving onto 53 with a sublime lift over the long-off boundary.

Kohli was lucky to survive after smart work from Buttler behind the stumps, but there was no doubt India deserved their success and the skipper's supreme six wrapped things up in style.
 

India's faith in youth rewarded

After suffering a comprehensive defeat in the first match, India needed a response, and in the form of Ishan, who averaged 57.33 in the IPL last year, they may well have found their next T20 superstar.

Ishan is just the second India player to score a half-century on their T20 debut, after Ajinkya Rahane, who amassed 61 against England in Manchester in 2011.

Another landmark for clinical Kohli

Kohli's record in run chases is exceptional and, while Ishan will enjoy the limelight of a special debut, India's captain ensured he was not totally outdone.

He ultimately finished as the top scorer, and his composure and clinical shot selection was displayed in all its glory by a nonchalant, flick of the wrists for a six which not only confirmed victory, but also brought up his 3,000th T20I run.

England's bowlers produced an outstanding performance to lay the platform for an emphatic eight-wicket win in the first Twenty20 International against India.

The tourists were bamboozled by spin to lose the Test series but found a pitch much more to their liking at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, a venue where they twice suffered heavy defeats to go down 3-1 in the longest format.

Jofra Archer led the way with figures of 3-23 as India – who host the ICC T20 World Cup later this year – were restricted to 124-7 after being put in by visiting captain Eoin Morgan.

England had no such problems in their reply, Jason Roy smashing 49 off 32 deliveries to help wrap up victory with 27 balls to spare. 

Jos Buttler contributed 28 in an opening partnership worth 72 with Roy, who hit three sixes before being trapped lbw by Washington Sundar, one of three frontline spinners selected by the hosts for the opener in a five-match series. 

By contrast, England fielded a solitary slow bowler in their XI. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid (1-14) claimed the prized scalp of Virat Kohli for a duck having opened the bowling in a T20 at international level for the first time. 

Archer and Mark Wood (1-20) also struck early blows as India limped along to 22-3 by the end of the batting powerplay. Shreyas Iyer led a recovery of sorts, top-scoring with 67, but their final total never appeared enough at the halfway point. 

Rishabh Pant (21) thrilled the crowd with an outrageous reverse sweep off Archer that went for six, yet could only pick out Jonny Bairstow when he flicked a full delivery from Ben Stokes into the deep. 

Iyer and Hardik Pandya (19) shared a half-century stand having come together at 48-4, only for the latter to become the first of two wickets in as many deliveries from the excellent Archer. 

England made sure there were no complications in the chase with a powerplay onslaught from their openers, allowing Dawid Malan and Bairstow to ease them to their paltry target, the duo finishing unbeaten on 24 and 26 not out respectively. 

New Zealand's Auckland-based players, including Martin Guptill, have returned negative coronavirus tests and can continue preparation for the remainder of the Twenty20I series against Australia.

The Black Caps lead 2-0 in the five-game series, with Guptill collecting player of the match honours in the second four-run victory last week.

But Auckland has entered a seven-day lockdown after a COVID-19 case was detected.

That development has prompted the fourth game, set for Auckland on March 5, to be moved to Wellington, where the upcoming third match will also be played.

But the New Zealand players based in the city will still be available to feature.

Guptill, James Neesham, Glenn Phillips and Mark Chapman had been self-isolating due to the new measures, but they have each tested negative and will join training again on Tuesday.

Mohammad Rizwan struck a brilliant century before Pakistan held their nerve with the ball to win the Twenty20 series opener against South Africa by three runs.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rizwan had registered his maiden Test ton against the same opposition last week, with his knock of 115 not out helping the hosts seal a 2-0 sweep in Rawalpindi. 

Promoted up the order to open in the T20 side in Lahore, the right-hander hit six fours and seven of his team's 11 sixes as he finished up unbeaten on 104 out of a total of 169-6.

His 64-ball knock helped Pakistan recover from the early setback of losing Babar Azam to the second ball of their innings, the captain run out without scoring thanks to a stunning direct hit by bowler Bjorn Fortuin at the non-striker's end. 

Yet South Africa's fielding did not live up to the same standards for the remainder of the innings; they dropped Rizwan twice, allowing the him to record only Pakistan's second century in the shortest format. 

Tabraiz Shamsi – who did not feature in the recent Test series due to a back injury – was the pick of the attack with 1-20 for an understrength South Africa, who started promisingly in reply thanks to 44 from Janneman Malan.

Usman Qadir dismissed both Malan and debutant Jacques Snyman as he claimed 2-21, though the visitors were still in with a chance when requiring 48 from the final four overs with six wickets in hand.

Hendricks (54) had overcome a quiet start to reach a valiant half-century, but Rizwan put an end to his innings with a sharp piece of fielding, picking up the ball and then diving into the stumps.

Left needing six from the final delivery, Fortuin was only able to squeeze a full ball from Faheem Ashraf out to deep square leg, meaning the Proteas – led by stand-in captain Heinrich Klaasen – came up just short.

The teams will conclude the three-match series with a double-header this weekend at the same venue.

England have named Liam Livingstone in a 16-man squad for the Twenty20 series against India in March, but Test captain Joe Root and Alex Hales were not included.

Livingstone has not played international cricket since June 2017, when he scored 16 runs in a pair of T20 appearances against South Africa on English soil.

However, the 27-year-old was part of the group for the one-day series at home to Ireland last year, as well as the tour to South Africa that was cut short in December due to coronavirus concerns.

His selection comes after an impressive Big Bash tournament in Australia, though Hales – who finished as the competition's leading scorer, managing 543 at a strike-rate of 161.60 for Sydney Thunder – continues to be overlooked by the national selectors.

Root is also not included for the five-match series that offers Eoin Morgan's side further opportunities to prepare ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup, which takes place in India during October and November.

Jos Buttler – who has returned home for a scheduled break after helping England win the first Test against India in Chennai – will travel back for the white-ball games.

As well as the players in the squad, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced Jake Ball and Matt Parkinson as reserves. The party will depart on February 26, with all games to be played at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.


England T20 squad for the tour to India: 

Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, Mark Wood.

Reserves: Jake Ball, Matt Parkinson.

South Africa will be hoping some fresh faces can lead to a change in fortunes in Pakistan as the two nations switch focus to the Twenty20 format. 

Lahore will stage all three matches in the series, which comes after Pakistan recorded a 2-0 sweep over the same opponents in Test action. 

However, many of the Proteas who featured in that series are not involved in the T20 fixtures, including captain Quinton de Kock. 

Heinrich Klaasen is instead in charge for the tourists, while Dwaine Pretorius, Lutho Sipamla, Tabraiz Shamsi and George Linde are the only members of the squad who have stayed on after Test duty. 

The stand-in skipper insists that while South Africa may be lacking in experience, those on duty are determined to seize the opportunities that come their way during the trip. 

"South Africa has got loads of talent, which people sometimes don't see because we only have six franchises," Klaasen said. "We are by no means a second-string T20 squad, and we are looking to win." 

Klaasen revealed he is now "fit and safe" after overcoming COVID-19, though it took a heavy toll on him physically. He put up an Instagram post during his recovery to make clear the effects of the virus, in which he wrote: "Covid is real and didn't think it would be this hard to come back". 

As for Pakistan, they have named a 20-man squad that includes four uncapped players but is missing Mohammad Hafeez, who failed to come to an agreement over the date he was to enter the group's bio-secure bubble. 

Fakhar Zaman and Wahab Riaz are also notable absentees having been dropped, while Shadab Khan is ruled out through injury. 

Zafar Gohar, Danish Aziz, Zahid Mehmood and Amad Butt are the quartet of new faces, while Hasan Ali – the hero for the hosts in the second Test with 10 wickets in the match – is back involved again in the shortest format.

Pakistan go into the opening game on Thursday having won 14 of their previous 18 T20 matches on home soil (L4), including the last five in a row.


Babar right up there with the best

No matter what the format, Babar Azam is crucial to Pakistan. The right-handed batsman has scored the most amount of runs in T20 cricket at international level since the start of 2018, managing 1,213 across his 28 innings at an average of 52.7.

After a relatively quiet Test series in terms of his individual output, Babar will be eager to capitalise on a new-look South African attack that is without the services of pace trio Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi.

Positive spin to help Proteas

Shamsi is one of the few who has remained for the T20 series; the left-arm wrist spinner was ruled out of the first Test with a back injury and then did not feature in the second match.

The 30-year-old has played in 25 T20 games for South Africa, taking 21 wickets at 33.33 with an economy rate of 7.69 runs per over, and has the chance to become a pivotal member of the XI, particularly with a World Cup in the format to come in India later this year.

Key series facts

- South Africa have never lost a multi-game bilateral T20 series in Asia, winning five times out of a possible six in the continent (D1).
- Since the start of 2018, Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed (18 catches and five stumpings) has been directly involved in the joint-most T20 dismissals among those featuring for a Test-playing nation (23 – level with Alex Carey and Tim Seifert).
- Since the start of 2018, Babar Azam has scored the most runs in the T20 format, managing 1,213 runs across his 28 innings at an average of 52.7.
- Only David Miller from the current Proteas squad has played a T20 international game in Pakistan, having represented the World XI in 2017. He has logged 20 catches in the format since the start of 2018, the third-most of those to feature for a Test-playing nation.
- Faheem Ashraf recorded more dot balls than any other player during the T20 series against New Zealand in December 2020). He has only been able to claim four wickets at an average of 41.3 in Pakistan, however.

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