When all seemed lost, Jasprit Bumrah produced a dream last over for India in the second T-20 game at Nagpur. The 23-year old conceded just two runs and sent back two England batsmen back to the pavilion. England needed just 8 for victory at the end of the 49th over but Bumrah had other plans. India had lost the first T-20 at Kanpur under similar circumstances after scoring 147 and England easily overhauled them in the chase. At Nagpur, England skipper Eoin Morgan won the toss for the second consecutive time and didn’t blink in asking Virat Kohli to bat first. India’s 144/8 was even worse than their score in the first T-20 and England were well on their way to make it 2-0 in the series. They reached near the extremely gettable target but did not brace themselves against the brilliant Jasprit Bumrah. The bowler had yielded just 3 runs in the 18th over but that didn’t mean he could carry on similarly in the final over. However, what Bumrah did in the 20th was out-of-the-world and quite deservedly, he bagged the honor of being named as the player-of-the-match. Why not? He literally snatched an almost certain victory from England. Now the teams go to the last fixture of the series at Bangalore on February 1.
After doing so well in tests and ODI’s, India began the 3-match T-20 series on a losing note. England didn’t want to go home without something in their possession and after they handed India a drubbing at Kanpur on January 26, a similar victory seemed very much plausible at Nagpur. When England skipper Eoin Morgan won the toss at Nagpur, he had the Kanpur scenario still afresh in his mind and he decided to field. The proceedings at Nagpur weren’t any different from Kanpur and Barring Virat Kohli, Lokesh Rahul and Manish Pandey, no other Indian batsman could get into a double-digit score as England restricted the home side to 144/8 in 20 over.
The victory target of 145 cannot be considered challenging in T-20 fixtures anywhere. For England, it was like simply repeating what they did at Kanpur. Even after Ashish Nehra took out both openers; Jason Roy and Sam Billings by 4th over, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root and Ben Stokes brought England back on track. When Morgan and Stokes went back in the 17th over, England’s task was still quite easy. They began seeing their second consecutive victory since a mere 28 more runs were required in the remaining 19 balls and they had Jos Buttler and Joe Root out there in the middle. Kohli called Bumrah to bowl the 18th over and the young speedster yielded just 3 runs to pressurize England. When Ashish Nehra came on to bowl the 19th over, he was blasted for 16 runs and England went to the last over with just 8 runs required.
It was here that England suffered a shock. Bumrah came back for the last over of the innings and his first ball hit Joe Root’s pads. Indian fielders appealed in unison and up went the umpire’s finger. TV replays pointed towards an inside-edge and Root was plainly unlucky. Now 8 were still required but the number of balls had become 5. The next Englishman to come was Moeen Ali and he scored a single off Bumrah’s second ball to hand the strike to Buttler. Off the third ball, Buttler swung and missed and no run accrued. England needed a not-so-difficult 7 off 3. The fourth ball from Bumrah was a beauty that rattled Buttler’s stumps even as the batsman attempted a massive pull. Now England were in trouble as they needed 7 off the last 2 balls. New man Chris Jordan also went for a wild swing but as the ball went through to the keeper, Jordan and Ali ran a bye. Now England’s victory and India’s defeat rested on the last-ball six from Moeen Ali. Indian fielders took their time and even Dhoni was seen advising Kohli on field placements. Finally, Bumrah’s consistency paid rich dividends. He floated a full length ball and Moeen went for a wild optimistic swing and couldn’t connect and India won the match. It was celebration time at Nagpur as India coasted to an unlikely 5-run victory to level the series 1-1. For India, Jasprit Bumrah became an instant hero, whose last two overs cost him just 5 runs and brought 2 wickets. The two teams will do their best to win the series at Bangalore on February 1, when the last game is played there.