At the eve of the 3rd T20 international against India at the Narendra Modi – the World’s largest Cricket Stadium, Eoin Morgan was confident that his India will come back strongly to take the lead in the 5 match T20 series against India despite losing the 2nd T20 match to India by 7 wickets due to excellent half centuries by Virat Kohli and debutant Ishan Kishan of the Mumbai Indians IPL side who had a dream debut in the 2nd match and made an aggressive 56 of 32 deliveries to secure the match for India and also received the Man of the Match Award for his aggressive innings.
Despite this loss, Morgan was confident because for the 3rd T20 as the pitch that will be used was the one with the Red soil which offers more bounce than the earlier pitches and as Pacer Mark Wood was due for a comeback in this 3rd important match after missing out of the earlier 2nd game, Eoin Morgan was confident that his pace attack boosted by Wood’s Return and Jofra Archer’s fast pace and the red soil offering extra bounce will play a big part in his plan to outwit Team India to win an important match.
Luck was also on his side as he won the toss and immediately opted to bowl so that he could unleash pace and bounce on the Indian batsmen and get them out for a low score which they could then chase easily as the earlier two games favored the teams batting second. Even India’s captain Virat Kohli said at the toss that he would also had preferred to chase.
England courtesy Wood had a great start as he knocked the stumps of KL Rahul in India’s 3rd over with the score 7/1 with Rahul yet again falling for a duck and continuing his string of binary scores 1 and 0s across the last 4 innings.
Wood continued his pacy streak by following up with the wicket of Rohit Sharma by getting him to mistime a pull shot which was caught by Jofra Archer with India’s score at 20/2 inside 5 overs. The previous match’s young hero Ishan who in this game batted at Number 3 was the next to depart with a mistimed pull off the bowling of Chris Jordan which was caught by the England keeper Jos Buttler leaving India gaping at 24/3 in 5.2 overs a tad similar to 22/3 in the first T20 which England had comfortably won by 8 wickets.
The Indian Captain Virat Kohli was now joined by Keeper Rishabh Pant and they put on a fighting 40 run partnership when Pant was comically run out in an attempt to make a 3rd run leaving India at 64/4 inside 12 overs. Shreyas Iyer was the next to depart and became Mark Wood’s 3rd wicket when he skied an easy catch to Dawid Malan and left India hanging at 86/5 in 14.3 overs and England looked on par to stop India within 130 runs. It took a valiant partnership of 70 runs between Kohli and Hardik Pandya which took India to a respectable score of 156/6 at the end of the innings with Kohli counter-attacking superbly to again remain not out for the second time in the series with a valiant innings of 77 not out with 8 fours and 4 sixes and setting up a decent total for the Indian bowlers to defend with the pitch offering decent pace and bounce.
Many betting sites would had given India more odds to win this match when Jason Roy mistimed a reverse sweep off the bowling of Chahal and Rohit Sharma completed a good catch with England losing their first wicket at 23/1 in 3.3 overs but Jos Buttler at the other end had other Ideas, He whipped Chahal in his very first over for a huge six and then followed it up with a 16 run over off Shardul Thakur and drove England’s score to 57/1 inside the powerplay which was more than double of India’s score.
Buttler smashed the bowlers and collected 43 vital runs of just 17 deliveries to accelerate the innings and build the tempo in England’s favour. When Dawid Malan was out stumped by Pant off the bowling of Washington Sundar with the score at 81/2 off 9.4 overs, Buttler was joined by Jonny Bairstow who also counter-attacked at the Indian bowlers with an aggressive innings of 40 Not out off 28 deliveries and together in the company of Buttler put on an unbeaten partnership of 77 runs and coasted England to a memorable victory by 8 wickets when the game finished and the score read England 158/2 in 18.2 overs.
Jos Buttler deservingly got the Man of the Match award for his unbeaten 83 not out off 52 deliveries with 5 fours and 4 sixes.
Losing Captain Virat Kohli’s Post Match Comments
“You don’t want to play knocks which don’t help the team in any way. It was a bit difficult to bat against the new ball. It was a bit tacky and the bowlers were getting a bit of assistance. Their pacers were hitting good areas. We got one little partnership and then towards the end with Hardik as well. It was important for me to bat deep into the innings because I knew that it would be easier for the set batsman to read the pace and bounce of the wicket. The case was to get set and try and get a decent total. I was going through a lean patch about two games ago. He (KL Rahul) has been a champion player. If you look at his stats in the lat 2-3 years, they are probably better than anyone in T20. He will continue to be one of our main batters along with Rohit at the top of the order. We don’t have any concerns there. It’s a matter of five-six balls in this format and suddenly you are back in that zone. If you lose the toss, embrace what’s been asked of you as a team. The England bowlers were absolutely brilliant with the new ball. In the first six overs, they hardly gave us anything and made our lives very difficult. We tried to come back as well as we could but I don’t think our body language in the second half was acceptable in the field. Defending 160, you need intensity and energy and that was lacking tonight. You need to figure out which other all-rounder can be featured into the XI. We want to give Hardik bit more responsibility with the ball because he’s going to be a vital part of this team moving forward. With the ball, he is coming along nicely.”
Winning Captain Eoin Morgan’s Post Match Comments
“The carry we saw throughout the whole game, it was a bit of a surprise for us. Our guys don’t find that too hard to adjust to. First half of our bowling was exceptional. When you look at the lines and lengths that we bowled, the plans that we had and taking early wickets as well … it makes a huge difference in the game. The wicket stayed very similar. There is another challenge setting a total particularly when there’s one short side, you just don’t know what a good score is going to be. It’s just the dynamics of T20 cricket. It just shows how strong every side in the world has to be. Jos is a world-class player, we are very lucky to have him. He competes with the best in the world when it comes to opening the batting. There’s very little you have to say to Jos. He’s a great leader within our group, been around for a long time. Obviously he’s a huge influence in the dressing room. He’s a great friend of mine. Playing 100 games is a proud moment for me. The words that he said really warmed my heart and I am very grateful for that.”
Player of the Match Jos Buttler’s Post Match Comments
“It was nice to spend time in the middle. I always like being not out at the end. It was a great team performance. Anytime you take early wickets in the powerplay, really sets you up. We got some good partnerships to see us home. People don’t expect me to attack spinners, so I tried to take it on. Chahal is a fantastic bowler and I have had some good battles against him. It was nice to chance my arm a bit today. The first six off Chahal got me off and running and gave me confidence. We managed to put a good powerplay. I tried to get across what a special achievement it is to play 100 matches and what he’s (Morgan) done for English white ball cricket. Eoin’s taken our white ball fortunes to a completely new place that we’ve never been before”