Sixes galore as India wins the T20I Series

By Kersi Meher-Homji 

I have rarely seen such batting extravaganza as Indian batsmen hit sixes everywhere in the fifth and final Twenty20 International (T20I) in Ahmedabad last night (Saturday).

Virat Kohli opened the innings with Rohit Sharma and added 90 runs in nine overs. Rohit was at his scintilating best belting 64 runs with five towering sixes. Then Suryakumar Yadav took over scoring a quick 32 enriched with two sixes.

India totaled 2 for 224 at a heart-warming 11.2 runs an over, Kohli 80 not out and Hardik Pandya 39 not out, both hitting two sixes.

After losing opener Jason Roy for a duck, England’s batsmen Jose Buttler (52 runs with four sixes) and Dawid Malan (68 with two sixes) attacked just as aggressively putting on 130 runs for the second wicket off only 75 balls. They put England in a commanding position.

But once they were dismissed, the visitors started losing wickets quickly and lost the match by 36 runs and with it the series 2-3.

For taking vital wickets India’s fast-medium bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2 wickets for 15 runs in four overs) was made Man of the Match and Virat Kohli Man of the Series.

England’s Malan broke Pakistan batsman Babar Azam’s record to reach 1000 runs in least number of innings in T20I. Azam had reached this landmark in 26 innings while Malan took only 24 innings.

Kohli accepted the trophy and handed it to the newest members of the squad – Suryakumar and Ishan Kishan. The youngsters lifted the trophy with glee and celebrated with their team-mates.

A delighted Kohli said, “I think it was a complete game for us and [we] outplayed the opposition even with so much dew coming in. The fact that Rishabh [Pant] and Shreyas [Iyer] didn’t even come to bat and that we got to almost 230 was a testimony to our batting performance. We were positive in our intent and we wanted to take the game forward. Tonight it was classic Rohit Sharma and if he plays more freely like that…Suryakumar and Hardik in the end – I enjoyed the partnerships. Yes, I’m going to open in the IPL as well.”

England’s captain Eoin Morgan took the defeat sportingly, saying, “I think the series facing a strong Indian team was fantastic… India outplayed us in the big moments of the game and deserved to win.”

Thus India followed her 3-1 Test win against England last month with a 3-2 victory in T20Is last night.

Since November last year the Indian cricket team is following an interesting pattern: losing the first match but winning the series. They lost the first Test to Australia in Australia in 2020-21 but won the series 2-1. Last month against England at home, they lost the first Test but won the series 3-1. Then in the just concluded T20 internationals against England this month, India lost the first match but won the series 3-2.

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