India won the second T20 international by five runs in Nagpur to level the series at 1-1 and keep England’s white ball tour running on right to the end of this criss-crossing, city-hopping odyssey, with a decider to come in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Unlike in Kanpur three days ago, this was a genuine contest: a tight, niggly, ultimately thrilling chase that had looked likely to veer England’s way as India became snarled in the gears midway through their innings on a grippy pitch.
There was a toxic element to the ending too, with England’s management apparently infuriated by some poor umpiring decisions from umpire Shamshuddin and seeming to exchange words as the officials trooped off.
Chasing 145 to win, England lost early wickets, but a 50 stand from Joe Root and Ben Stokes looked to have wrenched the game back their way.
Eight were required to win off Jasprit Bumrah’s last over. At which point enter umpire Shamshuddin, who gave a terrible lbw decision to send Root off shaking his head and looking down at the edge of his bat.
Bumrah responded, keeping a full, skiddy length, disco-finger extended to the sky in that distinctive delivery stride, and keeping England to two runs to send the VCA Stadium into a state of uproar. Key decisions had gone against them on a tricky pitch.
But England will still feel one of their batsmen should have seen the job through, just as India will luxuriate in some fine death bowling from Bumrah and Ashish Nehra.
England’s chase had been set up by another fine, disciplined bowling performance after they had won the toss and sent India in to bat.
Chris Jordan top and tailed the innings with accuracy and variation and Moeen Ali produced a tight four-over spell in the middle overs. They lost wickets to some rash shots early in their chase but still, a slightly creaky, underpowered India team never really looked to have enough runs.
India 144/8 (20 ov)
KL Rahul 71, Manish Pandey 30
Chris Jordan 3-22
England 139/6 (20 ov)
Joe Root 38, Ben Stokes 38
Ashish Nehra 3-28, Jasprit Bumrah 2-20
Result- India win by five runs
Watch Winning Moment: India vs England 2nd T-20
- Maksudul HAQUE, correspondent, bdcrictime.com