England choke in Nagpur Chase
England failed to knock over a modest total from India to allow the hosts to keep the T20I series alive with a five run win in the second match in Nagpur.
Needing seven to win off the final over of the match England managed only two runs as Jasprit Bumrah claimed the wickets of Joe Root and Jos Buttler.
England had looked set to wrap up the series after restricting India to 144 for 8 with the hosts losing five wickets in the last three overs thanks largely to some great death bowling by Chris Jordan who ended with figures of 3 for 22.
India’s total was built largely off the back of an innings of 71 from opener Lokesh Rahul and a handy 30 from Manish Pandey with Virat Kohli chipping in with 21.
England’s chase got off to a solid start but after losing openers Sam Billings (12) and Jason Roy (10) off successive Ashish Nehra balls the innings stuttered.
Root and Eoin Morgan (17) began rebuilding as they had done so well in the first game but Amit Mishra snapped up the wicket of the skipper and may have had Ben Stokes in the same over had he not overstepped.
Stokes blazed his way to 38 and seemed to have given England a decisive edge even after he departed when Nehra trapped him leg before leaving England 117 for 4.
Bumrah pulled things back brilliantly though with his last two overs costing just five runs and England would end on 139 for six With Moeen Ali unable to clear the rope on the final ball.
He was a little lucky to get the wicket of England’s joint top scorer Root (38) who appeared to get an inside edge but was adjudged to be out leg before but there was little doubt in the dismissal of Buttler (15) who was castled.
After the match Bumrah said: “It’s always tough to bowl in the death. I tried to remember the past where I’ve done well in such situations. We saw the first innings, it was on the slower side. Back-of-length deliveries and slower deliveries were difficult to get away, so that is what I wanted to bowl.”
Nehra said after the contest: “Pressure game, I wanted to leave Jasprit with as many as possible to defend. Hats off to him, this isn’t the first time he’s done it for India. Jasprit asked me if he should bowl length.
“All I told him was ‘you have a good yorker, look to bowl full, it’s tough to hit a six even if it is a low full toss.’ It worked. When 32 were needed off four overs, I told Jasprit we will win.”
There was no hiding the disappointment for Morgan who said: “We didn’t start the final over well, a decision didn’t go our way. The wicket was tough, but fair play, he produced a match-winning over.
“I thought we bowled really well to back up our previous performance with the ball, but with the last two games, we’ve been right on the money.
“In the chase, we never let it get too far away from us. Root, Stokes played outstandingly well. It’s unbelievably disappointing to lose, but we still have a chance to win the series in Bangalore.”
India skipper Kohli was delighted to stay in the hunt for the series win: “It’s important to have belief. It was a case of us executing well initially. You don’t want to let momentum slip away in the middle overs, especially with the series on the line.
“But the way spinners bowled in the middle, and then the effort of Nehra and Bumrah with dew was outstanding. Nehra knew exactly what he wanted to do, Bumrah was asking me every ball what I thought he should do.
I told him ‘just bowl what comes naturally to you.’ I played for a bit on that wicket, shot-making was difficult. As soon as I got out, Rahul knew he had to play long.
“He has all the shots in the book. Good reflexes, hand-eye coordination. Looking forward to Bangalore. There are some things we need to tighten up.”
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