Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
India seamer Jasprit Bumrah conceded just two runs off the final over of the match to lead his side to a thrilling five-run over England in the second Twenty20 International in Nagpur.
With Bumrah supported by strong performances from opening batsman Lokesh Rahul, who smashed a sensational 71, and left-arm pace bowler Ashish Nehra, who took three wickets, India brought themselves level at 1-1 in the three-match series.
Being put in to bat first, India were unable to set a solid foundation to build on as they were constantly pegged back with regular wickets.
Having been reduced to 69/3 in the 11th over, Rahul took over as he and Manish Pandey amassed a 56-run partnership, during which Rahul surpassed his half-century.
But, he was unable to stay at the crease until the end of the innings as he was ultimately dismissed by Chris Jordan for 71, which came off 47 balls and included six boundaries and two sixes.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pandey fell shortly after for 30, but with none of the lower order batsmen offering any resistance, India ended up posting a score of 144/8 off their 20 overs.
Jordan was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Tymal Mills, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid snapped up one wicket apiece.
Chasing 145 to win, England lost openers Sam Billings and Jason Roy early on, and just when they seemed to be recovering, captain Eoin Morgan was sent packing by Amit Mishra for 17.
Joe Root and Ben Stokes kept England in contention with a 52-run stand before Stokes was trapped lbw off the bowling of Nehra for 38.
Heading into the final over, England required just eight runs to win, but Bumrah dealt the tourists a massive blow when he removed Root for 38.
He struck again just three balls later, clean bowling wicketkeeper Jos Buttler for 15 runs.
Along with the two wickets, Bumrah gave away just two runs off the last over of the match and ensured India stayed alive in the series.
Nehra was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Bumrah took two and Mishra claimed one.
Morgan was gutted to have lost the match, and said: “We didn’t start the final over well, a decision didn’t go our way. The wicket was tough, but fair play, he [Bumrah] 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 Virat Kohli was thrilled to have levelled the series at 1-1, and said: “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.”
Bumrah was named Man of the Match, and 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.”