India wrapped up the T-20 Series 2-1 after winning the third and final T-20 game at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on February 1 and completed their English conquest in all cricketing formats. For England therefore, the long tour to India ended fruitless with 0-4 loss in the test-series and the identical 1-2 losses in ODI and T-20 Series. But the last two T-20 games at Nagpur and Bengaluru couldn’t have been called one-sided after England had taken a 1-0 lead in Kanpur’s first match. If Bumrah made the decisive difference at Nagpur, Yazuvendra Chahal did even better at Bengaluru. On a batting-friendly strip, a score of around 200 has not been uncommon. During 2016 IPL season, the average first innings score was 197. Therefore, India setting a 203-run victory target for England was competitive but well within England’s grasp. Skipper Eoin Morgan led from front and with Joe Root for company; he went after Indian bowlers mercilessly. In Suresh Raina’s 12th over, Morgan blasted the second and third balls for two sixes. The fourth was a wide but Morgan hit another six on the next legal delivery. When the hapless Raina finished by yielding 22 runs from that over, England had reached 114/2. The next 89 from 48 balls looked very much on cards with Morgan and Root going great guns. After Amit Mishra bowled a good 13th over, England were 117/2 at the start of the 14th. It was here that Virat Kohli summoned Yazuvendra Chahal for his second spell. Chahal yielded two runs off his first two balls and ran through England’s innings like a bull in the China shop. He took out the well-set pair of Morgan and Root before Bumrah accounted for Jos Buttler in the next over. Chahal came back for his last over, took three more wickets and allowed Bumrah to complete the massacre in 17th over. In a matter of a few balls, England had lost 8 batsmen for just 8 runs. Chahal’s dream spell accounted for 6/25, the best by an Indian bowler in T-20 games’ history.
Yet again, Eoin Morgan put India to bat first after winning the toss. After an early loss of Kohli’s wicket, India batted pretty well with a brisk scoring rate. Chinnaswmy stadium’s short boundaries and perfect batting pitch allowed Lokesh Rahul, Suresh Raina MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh to add useful runs in building the innings. Raina scored a breezy 63 off 45 balls with 5 sixes and 2 fours, while Dhoni reached his first-ever half century in a T-20 game. His 56 off 36 balls were studded with 2 sixes and 5 fours. Yuvraj Singh was unlucky to get out to a weird shot but his 10-ball 27 run cameo propelled India to cross the psychological mark of 200.
England were business-like in the 203-run victory chase despite losing Sam Billings early. The hard-hitting Jason Roy scored 32 off 23 balls before he too fell in 7th over but Eoin Morgan and Joe Root refused to be cowed down. They scored at will and England looked well on course. There was no Indian bowler, who could make any impression on Morgan and Root. Morgan picked out Suresh Raina and blasted 3 sixes off his 12th over to collect 22 runs. At 114/2, England required 89 off the next 6 overs and the third-wicket partnership was already worth 59 runs. At that point, England had no inkling about what Yazuvendra Chahal had up his sleeves.
When Chahal came on to bowl next, he yielded a single to Morgan and another to Root. Chahal’s third ball swallowed Morgan. It was a googly and Morgan’s attempted slog sweep off a viciously turning ball resulted into a top-edge. Rishabh Pant made no mistake at deep midwicket. 119/2 became 119/3. Root had crossed over and faced Chahal’s fourth ball. The flipper struck Root’s pads bang in front of the wicket and he was gone as well. Chahal missed his hat-trick but didn’t yield any more runs as England lost another wicket at 119. In the next over, Bumrah took out Jos Buttler as a wild heave fell into Virat Kohli’s hands at mid-on. Bumrah yielded 4 runs off his last 4 balls and it was time for Chahal again.
With his first ball of 16th over, Chahal forced Moeen Ali into a skier and Kohli took another catch. It was Chahal’s 4th wicket but he hadn’t finished yet. Ben Stokes slapped Chahal for four off the third ball, but fell as Chahal’s fifth victim, when Raina took a well-judged catch on the ropes. Next ball yielded wicket no.6 for Chahal, as Chris Jordan was stumped by Dhoni. With 6/25, Chahal passed R Ashwin’s 4/8 to record the best bowling performance by an Indian in T-20 fixtures. Ironically, England had also lost 6 wickets in progressing from 119/2 to 127/8 and their disintegration was completed by Bumrah in the next over, when he claimed the wickets of Liam Plunkett and Tymall Mills without yielding any runs. India won the match by 75 runs and for his superb bowling act, Chahal was chosen as the undisputed Player-of-the-Match and also the Player-of-the Series.
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