One-drop’s up-tempo 57 headlines batting effort which also features crucial Shreyas cameo; home side holds its nerve in dewy conditions to defend 186 and make it 2-2
If Ishan Kishan was unfortunate to be ruled out of the fourth T20I because of a groin strain, Lady Luck smiled on his replacement — Suryakumar Yadav. The Mumbai cricketer, dropped for the previous outing after not having faced a ball on debut in the second T20I, grabbed his chance.
Suryakumar’s electric 31-ball 57 was key to India’s tight eight-run victory, which helped the home side pull level at 2-2 in the five-match series.
The unshakable self-confidence that Suryakumar exudes came to the forefront when he rocked back to pull Jofra Archer for a six off the very first ball he faced. It was a dream start to his international batting career.
Two more maximums followed — including an astonishing scoop over fine-leg — before a questionable catch by Dawid Malan forced his dismissal.
Skipper Virat Kohli (1, 5b) fell cheaply, rushing down the track to leg-spinner Adil Rashid and missing completely.
Rishabh Pant (30, 23b, 4×4) and Shreyas Iyer (37, 18b, 5×4, 1×6) kept the score moving at a healthy rate, helping India make 185 for eight.
Archer finished with four for 33, his best figures in T20Is. Fellow pacer Mark Wood was all fire and bite, even if he only managed to scalp one wicket.
Stokes on song
In reply, England fought hard but paid the price for losing wickets at crucial junctures. Ben Stokes (46, 23b, 4×4, 3×6) kept the visitors in the hunt with some clean hits. He fancied his chances against spinners Washington Sundar and Rahul Chahar, tonking anything full with great power into the stands.
It took some clever bowling from Shardul Thakur in the 17th over to turn the tide. He first took out Stokes with a slower ball, slapped straight to Suryakumar at long-off. The very next ball, Eoin Morgan fell to another cutter. England needed 46 runs from 22 balls at this stage, leaving Sam Curran, Chris Jordan and Archer with a lot on their plate. With 23 needed off the final over, Shardul was given the ball.
A nervous Shardul conceded a four, a six and two wides, but got his act together in the final three deliveries to shut England out of the contest.
Opener Jason Roy looked dangerous during his 27-ball 40, until a flat-batted tennis shot off Hardik Pandya landed in Suryakumar’s hands at deep mid-wicket. His opening partner Jos Buttler (9, 6b), the Man-of-the-Match in the third T20I, was deceived by a slower ball from Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Leg-spinner Chahar, drafted in for Yuzvendra Chahal, showed great control and temperament.
He cleaned up Malan, who attempted a reverse-sweep to a ball on leg-stump, and then returned to remove Jonny Bairstow, ending a dangerous 65-run stand between Bairstow and Stokes.
Rohit Sharma c&b Archer 12 (12b, 1×4, 1×6), K.L. Rahul c Archer b Stokes 14 (17b, 2×4), Suryakumar Yadav c Malan b Sam Curran 57 (31b, 6×4, 3×6), Virat Kohli st. Buttler b Rashid 1 (5b), Rishabh Pant b Archer 30 (23b, 4×4), Shreyas Iyer c Malan b Archer 37 (18b, 5×4, 1×6), Hardik Pandya c Stokes b Wood 11 (8b, 1×6), Shardul Thakur (not out) 10 (4b, 2×4), Washington Sundar c Rashid b Archer 4 (2b, 1×4), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (lb-5, w-4): 9; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 185.
FALL OF WICKETS
1-21 (Rohit, 3.4 overs), 2-63 (Rahul, 7.4), 3-70 (Kohli, 8.4), 4-110 (Suryakumar, 13.2), 5-144 (Pant, 16.2), 6-170 (Hardik, 18.5), 7-174 (Shreyas, 19.1), 8-179 (Washington, 19.4).
Rashid 4-1-39-1, Archer 4-0-33-4, Wood 4-1-25-1, Jordan 4-0-41-0, Stokes 3-0-26-1, Sam Curran 1-0-16-1.
Jason Roy c Suryakumar b Hardik 40 (27b, 6×4, 1×6), Jos Buttler c Rahul b Bhuvneshwar 9 (6b, 1×6), Dawid Malan b Rahul Chahar 14 (17b, 1×6), Jonny Bairstow c Washington b Rahul Chahar 25 (19b, 2×4, 1×6), Ben Stokes c Suryakumar b Shardul 46 (23b, 4×4, 3×6), Eoin Morgan c Washington b Shardul 4 (6b), Sam Curran b Hardik 3 (5b), Chris Jordan c Hardik b Shardul 12 (9b, 1×4), Jofra Archer (not out) 18 (8b, 2×4, 1×6), Adil Rashid (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (lb-2, w-4): 6; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 177.
FALL OF WICKETS
1-15 (Buttler, 2.5), 2-60 (Malan, 7.5), 3-66 (Roy, 8.5), 4-131 (Bairstow, 14.5), 5-140 (Stokes, 16.1), 6-140 (Morgan, 16.2), 7-153 (Sam Curran, 17.6), 8-177 (Jordan, 19.5).
Bhuvneshwar 4-1-30-1, Hardik 4-0-16-2, Shardul 4-0-42-3, Washington 4-0-52-0, Rahul Chahar 4-0-35-2.
India won by eight runs to level series 2-2.
Fifth and final T20I: March 20, 7 p.m..