Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow played unbeaten knocks of 83 and 40 respectively as England secured a comfortable eight-wicket win over India in the third T20I here at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Tuesday evening.
With this win, England has now gained a 2-1 lead in the five-match series. Both teams will now meet in the fourth T20I on Thursday which will be played at the same venue. Chasing 157, England openers Jason Roy and Jos Buttler put on 23 runs for the first wicket, but the introduction of Yuzvendra Chahal paid off straight away when he dismissed Roy (9) in the fourth over as the right-handed batsman was trying to play a reverse-sweep. This dismissal, however, did not bring about a check in the run-flow, as Buttler went berserk and the visitors’ scored read 57/1 at the end of the powerplay.
Dawid Malan and Buttler stitched together a stand of 58 runs for the second wicket, but Malan’s (18) vigil at the crease was finally cut short in the 10th over by Washington Sundar as he had the left-handed batsman stumped, reducing England to 81/2, still 76 runs away from the target.
Bairstow came out to bat at number four and he along with set Buttler ensured that England did not suffer from more hiccups and in the end, the visitors crossed the line with eight balls to spare. Buttler and Bairstow stitched an unbeaten stand of 77 runs for the third wicket.
Earlier, skipper Virat Kohli’s unbeaten knock of 77 runs off just 46 balls helped India post 156/6 in the allotted 20 overs. Down and out going into the last five overs of the innings, Kohli led from the front in all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s company as the duo added 69 runs from 30 balls to take the hosts’ total past the 150-run mark.
Hardik had joined Kohli with the score of 86/5 in 14.3 overs and what followed was nothing short of a master-class on power-hitting. Interestingly, it was Hardik who played second-fiddle in their 70-run partnership off just 33 balls as Kohli went on a hitting spree. This was India’s highest sixth-wicket partnership in T20Is.
India’s score read 87/5 going into the last five with Kohli on 28 off 29 balls and Hardik yet to open his account. And at the end of the innings, Kohli was standing unbeaten on 77 off 46 balls with eight boundaries and four sixes. It was a complete class on batsmanship as Kohli didn’t hit a single cross-batted shot and banked on his technique to send the English bowlers on a leather hunt.
Put into bat, the hosts once again had a poor start as they lost three wickets inside the powerplay. Openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma were back in the hut inside the opening five overs. While Rahul departed for his third duck of the series, Rohit playing his first white-ball match for India since February last year got out after hitting two fours as Mark Wood picked his second wicket of the day.
Ishan Kishan, who had a dream debut on Sunday, fell for just four runs as he skied one behind the wicket and Buttler made no mistake. Kohli and Rishabh Pant tried to rebuild the innings and stitched a 40-run stand. Just when things started to look good for the hosts, Pant got run-out trying to steal a third run. With India struggling at 86/4 in the 14th over, Wood was brought into the attack, and he removed Shreyas Iyer as the hosts lost half the side.
Brief scores: India 156/6 (Virat Kohli 77*, Rishabh Pant 25, Mark Wood 3-31); England 158/2 (Jos Buttler 83*, Jonny Bairstow 40*, Washington Sundar 1-26).