India Beats England by 36 Runs, Wins T20 Series 3-2
Virat Kohli of India lifts the trophy with teammates after victory in the 5th T20 International between India and England at Narendra Modi Stadium on March 20, 2021 in Ahmedabad, India. (Surjeet Yadav/Getty Images)
AHMEDABAD, India — India thumped England by 36 runs in the fifth and final Twenty20 international March 20 to win the series 3-2.
Captain Virat Kohli’s unflappable 80 not out off 52 balls — his third unbeaten half century in the series — led India to an imposing 224-2 after England won the toss and opted to field.
Opening batsman Rohit Sharma also made an aggressive 64 off 34 balls which laid the foundation of India’s fourth highest-ever total in a T20 international.
Top-ranked T20 batsman Dawid Malan (68) and Jos Buttler (52) kept England in the hunt with an explosive 130-run partnership but India came back strongly to restrict the visitors to 188-8 with Bhuvneshwar Kumar claiming 2-15 in four overs.
“It was a complete game for us and (we) outplayed the opposition even with so much dew coming in,” Kohli said. “I’d like to partner Rohit (Sharma) at the top and the other guys feel confident when one of us are in. I’d like that to continue.”
India recorded back-to-back victories while defending totals with wet balls because of dew at the Narendra Modi Stadium which hosted all five games. The last three matches were without spectators because of a local rise in coronavirus cases.
Buttler holed out to mid off in Kumar’s return spell and Shardul Thakur (3-45) took the wheels off England’s chase by claiming the wickets of Jonny Bairstow (7) and a clean-bowled Malan in the 15th over.
Malan became the fastest batsman to complete 1,000 runs in T20Is when he reached 65 in his 24th appearance. Pakistan’s all-format captain Babar Azam held the previous record when he reached the milestone in 26 T20Is.
“India outplayed us in the big moments of the game and deserved to win,” said England captain Eoin Morgan, who was out for just one run as England slipped to 142-5 in the 16th over after losing four wickets for just 12 runs. “As a general principle we bat deep, we try to take advantage of it but couldn’t do so in big moments.”
Earlier, Kohli and Sharma featured in a 94-run rollicking opening stand in nine overs after the India captain promoted himself as an opener and finally dropped out-of-form Lokesh Rahul for the first time in the series.
Sharma dominated the opening stand by hitting five sixes and four boundaries as Chris Jordan (0-57), Mark Wood (0-53) and Jofra Archer (0-43) all going for plenty of runs without a wicket.
Ben Stokes broke the Kohli-Sharma stand when he had the latter clean bowled, but Suryakumar Yadav scored a 17-ball 32 and Hardik Pandya, who was promoted in the batting order, smashed a quickfire 39 not out off 17 balls.
Kohli hit seven fours and two sixes, finding useful support from the other end to plunder runs against the England seam attack.
Yadav yet again looked good before he was out in a sensational dismissal. Jordan raced to pluck a blinder in the deep and calmly relayed the ball back to an amused Jason Roy in time before he crossed the boundary line.
But Pandya and Kohli ensured England had a stiff target by adding 81 runs off the last 40 balls as England delivered too many short balls.
The three-match ODI series in Pune between India and England starts March 23.