If I had to sum up the final T20I match report in a sentence, I would have just wrote, 'Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma opened the innings for India and Shardul Thakur recreated his 4th T20I heroics'. But guess what? I cannot. In the final T20I game of the series, Eoin Morgan-led England team once again won the toss and opted to bowl. It looked like England were well ahead in the game with the toss advantage. However, Virat Kohli and his troops were well prepared for the task.
Batting first, India posted a mammoth total of 224 runs with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma smashing all-important half centuries. In reply, England lost Jason Roy on the second ball of the chase. Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan stitched 130-run partnership to keep visitors in the game. However, the run-chase pressure loomed on the duo and India won the encounter by 36 runs and clinched five-match T20I series 3-2.
Firepower from Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli
You prepared for Science but professor offered Social Science in the final term. That's exactly what England team experienced in the final T20I against India. Before the fifth T20I, India had tried three opening combinations. Dhawan-Rahul, Ishan-Rahul, and Rohit-Rahul. Unfortunately, none worked for India. The tension loomed over Virat Kohli as permutations and combinations didn't work for him. Interestingly, India's vice-captain in the absence of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul was backed for four games straight. The 28-year-old managed to score mere 15 runs at an average of 3.75 runs per game. Seeing his form in the shortest format of the game, India finally dropped him in the final game of the series. His exclusion led skipper Virat Kohli to open the innings with Rohit Sharma.
Guess what? The partnership did all wonders to the team. The duo had to play their 'A' game against supreme opposition. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma started off the innings responsibly and picked the gaps nicely. Rohit Sharma, who failed to get going in the third and fourth T20I went onto score a dazzling half-century. His innings of 64 runs was laced with four boundaries and five maximums which set the tone for India. When Rohit Sharma was playing with England's field, Virat Kohli was smart enough to rotate the strike. Their 94-run partnership in 9 overs meant India was set for a big score in final T20I.
Surya 'Show' Continues
After the departure of Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav started off his innings where he left in the last game. The southpaw smashed the second faced delivery for six. The six was loud enough for England team, fans, journalists, and others to know that 'SKY' is in the mood. Suryakumar Yadav deposited the ball into the stands which were in his arc. In his 17-ball 32 runs, he made sure that pressure doesn't loom on Virat Kohli. Surprisingly, not even for a second, India felt that Rohit Sharma got out in the ninth over.
Virat Hard 'hit' Show
India utilised the flat deck to the fullest in the last 7 overs and didn't let the opposition dominate the game even for a second. The management promoted Hardik Pandya at number four. Virat Kohli, who was enjoying the show from non-striker's end till the fall of second wicket shifted the gear and smashed bowlers around the park. In his innings of unbeaten 80 runs, Virat Kohli played some breathtaking shots, especially the nonchalant flick and mesmerising straight drives. In the process, Virat ended up scoring his highest T20I score as an opener. Hardik Pandya, on the other hand, played in the way he is known and did hard hitting to give India ocean of runs to defend in all-important clash. In the process, India scored 224 runs in their quota off 20 overs.
Highest T20I scores by team India
260/5 vs Sri Lanka, 2017
244/4 vs West Indies, 2016
240/3 vs West Indies, 2019
224/2 vs England, 2021*
You miss, I hit - Bhuvneshwar Kumar
In the final innings of this nail-biting series, Virat Kohli started off with his most-experienced bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar. On the second ball of the chase, Bhuvneshwar Kumar removed in-form Jason Roy. The big booming in-swinger took Roy by a surprise and swung the bat widely only to find the stumps rattled. Roy knew he has left too much for his counterparts as England found themselves in need of all-important final game.
Buttler-Malan kept their best for FINAL
In the mind of English fans, hopes of winning the game were equal to none after the departure of Jason Roy. However, not in the eyes of Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan. Before the final encounter, Dawid Malan had struggled to convert the start into big scores. With 24 being his highest score in the series, even the Indian camp didn't expect him to play they way he did. Both Buttler and Malan didn't let the net run-rate go past their reach and managed to hit a boundary in almost every over. The duo smashed half-century each to keep England in the game.
Shardul Thakur recreates 4th T20I heroics
Just when it looked like India might suffer a forgettable defeat, Virat Kohli introduced Bhuvneshwar Kumar to send set batsman Jos Buttler back to the pavilion. Post this, Virat Kohli left the field for medical assistance. In his absence, Rohit Sharma took over the captaincy and introduced Shardul Thakur into the attack. The speedster bowled in right areas and picked two wickets in the over to put India on the driver's seat. In the end, India held their nerve and went onto beat England in the final game of the series.
India v England: 5th T20I
India: 224/2 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 80*, Ben Stokes 1/26)
England: 188/8 in 20 overs (Dawid Malan 68, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/15)