Alex Hales kept his nerve cool till the last to steer England to a thrilling victory in the second T20I against India squaring the T20I series 1-1 with one match to spare. The home team came to the level with 5 wicket win at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.
A rather low scoring encounter at the Sophia Gardens reached into high drama as England needed 12 runs in the last over; Hales punched Bhuvneshwar Kumar for an out of the ground six in the first ball followed by a boundary in the second ball and promptly took the required single in the third.
Willy finished things off in style, all he scored in the match was those 3 runs needed to win for England. Kumar, who bowled exceptionally well in his previous three over of the match, ended conceding 12 runs in the last over. Hales hailed an unbeaten 41 ball 58.
Indian bowlers managed to have some fresh English wickets that of triple J’s all the while – Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and Joe Root all were back into the hut within less than seven overs at the team total of 44.
Captain Eoin Morgan hold the breath with Alex Hales, dragged 48 runs in the fourth wicket. With two fours on the card, Morgan struck 17 off 19.
When Hardik Pandya ripped off Morgan, Hales and Bairstow stepped further into the task – Bairstow blew the rising tension from the English camp striking two back to back sixes off Kuldeep Yadav to bring down the equation to 23 from last three overs.
England, after winning the toss, decided to bowl first. Replacing Moeen Ali with extra paceman Jake Ball paid off for the home team. Ball knocked down dangerous Rohit Sharma early in the innings giving England a desired start of the show.
India’s top order faltered bringing down to senior pros like Kohli and Dhoni; both of them prepared themselves once again to make the rescue.
Captain Virat Kohli registered the highest knock of 47 (38 deliveries) before Willey smarted him out of the crease. But Dhoni remained faithful, the wicket keeper batsman struck 5 fours on his way to 32 in the wake of his 37th birthday.
India have had 5 wickets in hand but could not capitalize the resources to prolong the innings than 148 runs.
Watch the last over drama here-
At the post-match presentation ceremony, Kohli mourned for not having big partnerships like the English in the match. “I think they had the partnership we didn’t to close it off in the end,” he said.
The third and final T20I of the series is scheduled to take place on June 8 at the County Ground in Bristol.
India 148/5 (20 overs)
Virat Kohli 47, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 32, Suresh Raina 27
David Willey 1/18, Liam Plunkett 1/17, Adil Rashid 1/29
England 149/5 (19.4 overs)
Alex Hales 58*, Johnny Bairstow 28, Eoin Morgan 17
Umesh Yadav 2/36, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/19, Yuzvendra Chahal 1/28
Result: England won by 5 wickets.
Toss: England. 1 of 1