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India survive Archer scare to square England series

India held their nerve to register a sensational eight-run victory over England to square the five-match Twenty20 International Series at 1-1.

Put in to bat first, India rode on a solid half centry on debut from Surya Kumar Yadav to post a challenging 185-8 in 20 overs. India already had their hands in the game only to survive Jofra Archer scare in the final over to restrict England to 177-8.

England needed 23 runs in the final over and after Chris Jordan handed the strike to Archer in the first ball, the allrounder smacked Shardul Thakur for a four and a six leaving 12 to get from last three. Trying to keep Archer away from hitting the ball, Thakur conceded two wide to make things easy for England.

Archer swung hard in the fourth ball but could only muster single before Thakur settled the nerves having Jordan dismissed in the fifth ball – a game deciding dot for India.    

England had lost Jos Buttler (nine) early in their chase before Jason Roy added 45 runs for the second wicket with Dawid Malan (14). The two batsmen then fell in a space of six runs to give India the momentum. Roy scored a 27-ball 40 hitting six fours and a maximum.  

Hardik Pandya was crucial with the ball for India. PHOTO: BCCI

England kept themselves in the game after Bairstow smashed Washington Sundar for 17 runs in the 14th over out of 18 that England got from the spinner. Bairstow and Stokes brought the half century partnership in that over as the momentum shifted in the next over to England although they lost the former.

Stokes clubbed Rahul Chahar for 13 runs in his first four balls before the leg spinner dismissed Bairstow for a 19-ball 25. Shardul Thakur did the job in the 17th after he removed Stokes and skipper Eoin Morgan in consecutive deliveries.

The England allrounder top scored with a 23-ball 46 studded with four boundaries and three sixes.  Thakur (3-42) and Hardik Pandya (2-16) shared five wickets between them for India.

After his consistent performance in the Indian Premier League, India had been facing numerous calls to get Yadav in the squad beginning with the team’s tour Down Under. Sneaking in the squad for home series, Yadav was included in the second match but couldn’t get a chance to bat before being dropped for the third.

India on the other hand continued to keep faith on KL Rahul but lost Rohit Sharma (12) early. Yadav stepped in and awkwardly pulled Jofra Archer over deep fine leg for a six off the first ball he faced in international cricket. He made the game look easy and together with Rahul and Rishabh Pant stitched 42 and 40 run partnerships respectively.

Yadav made batting look very easy in Ahmedabad pitch. PHOTO: BCCI

In between, India lost Kohli (one) to Adil Rashid’s googly. Yadav completed his half century off just 28 balls emulating another debutant Ishan Kishan who had reached milestone in same number of deliveries in the second Twenty20.

Yadav struck three sixes and six boundaries and was unlucky to leave the pitch in a controversial manner. Yadav was given out by third umpire although replays suggested Dawid Malan had not had his fingers underneath the ball at deep fine leg.

Shreyas Iyer upped the run rate smashing an 18-ball 37 that included five fours and a six. Pant hit four fours in his 23-ball 40. Archer took 4-33 from four overs for England.

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