Eoin Morgan smashed a stunning six off the final delivery bowled by Ashoke Dinda as England registered a six-wicket win to level the Twenty20 series and dashed India’s hopes of taking the No. 1 ranking in this form for the first time.
Needing nine off the last over, Dinda conceded just three singles off the first three. Jos Buttler managed a two from the fourth ball before Mahendra Singh Dhoni missed a chance to run out Morgan off the next delivery.
The England captain, calm and composed despite his side needing three off the final delivery, lofted Dinda into the stands to signal victory. Earlier, chasing a stiff target of 178, the England openers laid a solid foundation with an 80-run partnership.
Michael Lumb was in aggressive form, hitting 50 off just 34 balls with six fours and two sixes. At the other end, Alex Hales, dropped by Parvinder Awana, who had a forgettable game both as a bowler and as a fielder, cashed in on the mistake to score 42 (33b, 4x4, 1x6). Only Yuvraj Singh provided some hope for India, bowling a teasing line and finishing with three wickets.
He pulled India back into the match, the way he did in the first game at Pune. The left-armer dismissed Lumb, Luke Wright and Hales as England lost its way in the middle. However, Dhoni’s decision to employ Awana and Dinda in the closing stages proved costly as the two leaked runs aplenty.
After a sedate start, India posted a formidable 177 on the board. The runs flowed in the last quarter of the twenty overs after Rohit Sharma had lost his middle stump to off-spinner James Tredwell. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni joined left-hander Suresh Raina — the pair had steered the host to a convincing win in the first match at Pune two days back — in the middle.
Dhoni and Raina turned the tide, hammering three fours and as many sixes off Stuart Meaker and Jade Dernbach in the 17th and 18th overs. The duo put on a breezy 60-run stand in less than half an hour and lifted the team from 108 for five to 168.
There was evidence of extra bounce and hints of swing in the early overs. Indian openers Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane struggled to force the ball, after being put in by England captain Eoin Morgan. Gambhir looked a far cry from an experienced batsman ready to quell a challenging situation and laboured to make 17 off 27 balls in eight minutes short of an hour.
Rahane stepped out, made room and slashed into the hands of debutant Joe Root at third man. England dropped left-arm spinner Danny Briggs and took the field with four seamers and off-spinner in Tredwell, but medium pacer Luke Wright turned out to be the weak link as Kohli took heavy toll of him for twenty runs, which also was the last of the power-play. Dhoni and Raina played wonderfully well, blasting three fours and as many sixes off Meaker and Dernbach.