What's the mantra to win a T20I game at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad? Win the toss. Opt to bowl. Bowl in right lines during power play and you're there. But NOT this time. Eoin Morgan-led England team have been lucky to win the toss on three out of four occasions in the series thus far. However, this time around, Virat Kohli and his troops were ready for the task.
Batting first, India lost their openers early with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul managing mere 21-run partnership. Till that moment, everything was going in favour of Englishmen. However, India made one change to their batting order from the last game and promoted Suryakumar Yadav at number three. The 'change' became too tough for the Eoin Morgan & Co. to handle as he became the difference between two sides on the given day. In the end, India was able to beat England in a nail-biting encounter by 8 runs and kept the 5-match T20I series alive.
Another Failure for KL Rahul & Rohit Sharma
On a flat track, Indian openers have found it extremely difficult to stitch a partnership. Both KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma got the all-important start but failed to convert into a big score. In the fourth over of the innings, Jofra Archer bowled a leg-cutter at 124.5 kmph, and Rohit Sharma picked it up a little too early which went straight into the hands of the bowler. KL Rahul too failed in his fifth consecutive innings and pressure of putting runs on the board was once again on India's middle order.
The Suryakumar Yadav Show
Suryakumar Yadav made his T20I debut in the second match of the series. However, the southpaw didn't get to bat with Virat Kohli and Ishan Kishan doing most of the work. In the third T20I, India dropped Suryakumar Yadav to fit in Rohit Sharma. But in the fourth T20I, India needed to make their middle-order and got him back into the playing 11. After losing Rohit Sharma's wicket early in the innings, skipper Virat Kohli promoted Suryakumar Yadav to bat at number three. Guess what? The star sensation didn't disappoint even for a second. Suryakumar Yadav started his International career with a six.
Six on first ball of International career: (Among Test playing teams - Since 2002)
Sohail Tanvir (Pakistan)
Mark Craig (New Zealand)
Mangaliso Mosehle (South Africa)
Richard Ngarava (Zimbabwe)
Suryakumar Yadav (India)*
Suryakumar Yadav played his first International innings fearlessly and smashed bowlers all around the park. With wickets tumbling from one end, he held his calm and went onto score scintillating fifty. In his innings of 57 runs, he smashed 6 boundaries and 2 sixes at a strike rate of over 180. His innings ended in a controversial decision by the third umpire. One of the angles of TV replays showed that ball had made a contact with the ground. However, the other angle was inconclusive which made the TV umpire Mr. Virender Sharma to stick with the soft signal.
After the dismissal of Suryakumar Yadav, India needed some 'one' to stand up to the occasion. To their surprise, it was 'two', with both Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant who took responsibility with the bat. The duo stitched 35-run partnership in mere 18 deliveries to keep things moving for the Indian team. Both were able to pick the length early and took mere four and a half overs to score India's third fifty. Rishabh Pant's 30 off 23 deliveries along with Shreyas Iyer's quick-fire 37 off 18 helped India to post a mammoth total of 185 runs, which was also the highest first innings total in the series thus far.
Buttler & Malan Removed Cheaply
With 186 to chase, the Indian team was on driving seat. Speedster Bhuvneshwar Kumar started off the second innings with a maiden over. Hardik Pandya, on the other hand, conceded 2 runs to make the case stronger for the team. With discipline line and length, India was able to remove the Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan cheaply, putting pressure on the Englishmen to chase the target. Jos Buttler was first to get back to the pavilion, managing 9 runs off 6 deliveries. Malan too couldn't survive on the wicket for long and was sent back in the eighth over for 14 runs.
Shardul Thakur - The Bowler India Wanted
After losing three wickets early, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow played responsibly to get the visitors back into the game. The duo smashed every loose ball out of the park, giving Indian skipper worry of losing the T20I series. Ben Stokes smashed at a strike-rate of 200, involving 3 maximums and 4 boundaries. It looked like that game will drift away from the hosts. It was then, Virat Kohli went back to his trump card, Shardul Thakur. Shardul had a big responsibility on his shoulders and stood up to the task. The 29-year-old picked 2 wickets in 2 consecutive balls to put India in a comfortable position. In the end, India upstaged the Englishmen to level the series 2-2.
India v England: 4th T20I
India: 185/8 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 57, Jofra Archer 4/33)
England: 177/8 in 20 overs (Ben Stokes 46, Shardul Thakur 3/42)