On 16th March 2021 at 7 PM IST, the show began in Narendra Modi Stadium, albeit, behind the closed doors. The third off five-match T20I series between India and England had started off favouring the visitors with India losing wickets like pack of cards. Indian captain, Virat Kohli was the lone survivor with the bat and scored 77 off 46 deliveries, taking team’s total to 156 runs. However, England team had too much firepower and dominated the rest of Indian team in all three facets of the game. Jos Buttler smashed unbeaten 83 off 52 deliveries and eventually became the difference between two sides.
The Opening Conundrum
Shikhar-Rahul. Ishan-Rahul. Rohit-Rahul. Virat Kohli-led India team has officially tried three opening combinations. Unfortunately, none worked. Lokesh Rahul, who was rested in red-ball matches against England has contributed just 1 run in the series thus far. On the other hand, Shikhar Dhawan got an opportunity in the first game and contributed as many as 4 runs. Ishan Kishan and Rohit Sharma have been the other two faces tried by Indian team, but collectively, none worked.
On a two paced track, the toss fell in favour of English captain Eoin Morgan and he asked the opposition to have a bat first. In the third match, Virat Kohli brought white-ball specialist Rohit Sharma back into the playing 11. However, Rohit Sharma managed to survive mere 17 deliveries and scored 15 runs. His partner at non-striker end, KL Rahul registered third duck in last four games. By 2.3 overs, India saw KL Rahul back to the pavilion.
KL Rahul last four innings in T20Is:
0(2) vs Aus
1(4) vs Eng
0(6) vs Eng
0(4) vs Eng
Virat Kohli – The Saviour
After KL Rahul was sent back to the pavilion by Mark Wood, India skipper demoted himself and sent second Ishan Kishan at number three. Playing his second T20I game, the pressure loomed over the youngster as he saw wickets tumbling from the other end. The half-centurion of the second T20I managed to score mere 4 runs. It was then, India once again needed their ‘King’ to step up and set the stage.
Virat Kohli needed to get his eyes on the ball early in the innings as India desperately needed runs and needed them fast. By 5.2 overs, all India could manage was 24 runs with a loss of their top-order. Skipper stitched all-important 40-run partnership with Rishabh Pant to help India come back into the game. Indian batsmen tried hard to drift the game away from the Englishmen, but Eoin Morgan prepared for all questions which were thrown at him. India took 56 deliveries to get to their team fifty, and England were in a comfortable position with game under their cushion.
Lowest Powerplay scores for India (T20I):
21/3 v Pakistan Mirpur 2016
22/3 v England Ahmedabad 2021
24/4 v Australia Bridgetown 2010
24/3 v England Ahmedabad 2021 *
With Mark Wood, Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes hitting the deck hard, it became difficult for Indian batsmen to score freely. However, Virat Kohli kept his calm and changed the gear just at the right time. Along with Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli smashed English bowlers all-around the park. In the process, Virat Kohli registered his 27th half-century in T20Is. The duo smashed 69 runs in last 5 overs to help India reach a respectable total of 156 runs on the board, giving their bowlers something to play for.
Jos Buttler – The Game Changer
At the end of first innings, the pitch looked two paced and Indian bowlers were hopeful to get some assistance from it. However, England’s wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler had different plans and smashed all bowlers with ease. Buttler saw the cricket ball like football and deposited as many as 4 balls into the stands. His sensational hitting helped England to register first team fifty in mere 32 balls, which eventually became the difference in the game. Buttler didn’t get much support from the non-strikers but he made sure to stand tall and stand on the wicket till the end. His unbeaten 83 runs off 52 deliveries helped England to win the third T20I on Tuesday. With this, England team go 2-1 up in the five-match T20I series.
India v England: 3rd T20I
India: 156/6 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 77*, Mark Wood 3/31)
England: 158/2 in 18.2 overs (Jos Buttler 82*, Washington Sundar 1/26)