Kolkata: Suryakumar Yadav (57 off 31 balls) batted on debut as if he had a point to prove as India held onto their nerves to win a thrilling fourth T20 International against England by eight runs and keep the series alive on Thursday. With the series poised at 2-2, the fifth and the deciding match will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
Chasing an extremely competitive target of 186 to win at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday, England gave it their all but the Indian pace attack held their own with Shardul Thakur bowling the crucial final over to keep England at bay and finish with a haul of three wickets for 42 runs. Incidentally, this is the first time in the series that any side managed to defend their total.
Ben Stokes topscored for England with a counter-attacking 46 while Jason Roy got 40 up the order, but it was a rare occasion when dangerman Jos Buttler (9) fell cheaply to Bhubaneshwar Kumar. Both Hardik Pandya (2/16) and Kumar (1/30) braved the excessive dew to not lose their control against the in-form English batsmen.
Put into bat, Rohit Sharma made his intentions clear from ball number one as he smashed the very first ball of the match by Adil Rashid for a six over the long-off boundary. The first over saw 12 runs being scored and KL Rahul also opened his mark after falling for two ducks in this series.
Surya looked battle-ready as he hit the first ball he faced - off Jofra Archer - for a six, Rishabh Pant (30) and Shreyas Iyer (37) also played fearless cricket as the hosts looked in complete control with bat in hand. The score could have gone over the 200-run mark, but Archer’s four-wicket haul restricted the hosts running away with the game.
Suryakumar kept on attacking from one end but and off-form Rahul (14) stayed in his shell and this brought about his dismissal, reducing India to 63/2 in the eighth over. The very next over, Rashid had skipper Virat Kohli stepping out to be stumped for one - the Indian skipper failing after two back-to-back half-centuries. This was the eighth time in international cricket that Rashid got the better of Kohli - and leg spinners around the world could be sensing their chances against him.
The biggest turning point came in the 14th over of the innings as Surya (57) was sent back to the pavilion by Sam Curran. The right-handed Mumbai man tried to play a ramp shot but Dawid Malan ended up taking the catch. Replays indicated that the ball might have hit the ground when Malan was completing the catch. However, as the soft signal was out, the third umpire stayed with the on-field call citing “lack of conclusive evidence”.
In the final four overs, Iyer continued to march on, but he did not find much support at the other end and Archer showed his class and in the end, the hosts were restricted to under the 190-run mark.
Brief Scores: India won by 8 runs. India 185/8 (Suryakumar Yadav 57, Shreyas Iyer 37; Jofra Archer 4-33) vs England 177/8 (Ben Stokes 46, Jason Roy 40, Shardul Thakur 3/42, Hardik Pandya 2/16, Rahul Chahar 2/35).