KL Rahul finally bounced back to form as he slammed a 47-ball 71 (6x4s and 2x6s) as India posted 144 for eight in the 20 overs in the must-win second T20I clash against England at the VCA Stadium here on Sunday. (LIVE UPDATES) (LIVE STREAMING) (LIVE SCORECARD)
England bowlers were smart in their strategy. On a slow pitch, they decided to bowl even slower than their average speed. The Indian batsmen were unable to pick up the variations in pace, especially by the pacers.
Chris Jordan was the pick of the bowlers for England with 22 for three in his four overs while Moeen Ali was most economical English bowler with 20 for one in his four overs.
After three quiet overs where England just conceded 15 runs, India skipper Virat Kohli decided to take on the attack with a stunning six off the backfoot followed by a four to take 15 runs off Tymal Mills’s second over.
He looked to give the same treatment to Jordan as well, but the England pacer dropped his pace to 102 kmph which resulted in Kohli mistiming the ball and ended up holing out to Liam Dawson at long on. Kohli clearly looked unhappy with his dismissal as silence gripped Jamtha.
Rahul, however, did not let the departure affect the momentum. He smacked the next ball of Jordan through the covers and another majestic cover drive off Ben Stokes. India then lost two wickets in the space of 16 balls — Suresh Raina’s (7) typical dismissal, playing the slog sweep and Yuvraj Singh’s departure, out leg before to Moeen Ali for a 12-ball four-run knock.
However, Rahul kept the scoreboard not just ticking, but also belted some huge blows to resist England bowlers from dominating the proceedings. Rahul was also smart in his approach. He knew Ali was in good momentum and decided to not take any chances in his final over. Rahul unleashed some sensational drives off Adil Rashid as chants of ‘Rahul Rahul’ did the rounds at VCA Stadium.
India also finally managed to build a partnership in the match as Manish Pandey gave good support to Rahul. Morgan swiftly brought back his death overs specialist Jordan in the attack and gave England the breakthrough straight away, dismissing Rahul, who holed out at deep midwicket to Stokes to end the 56-run fourth wicket stand. The drop in pace once again did the trick for Jordan.
Luck was clearly on India’s side while they were batting. Kohli was lucky to survive a leg-before decision in the third over of the innings when he was on seven. The India skipper missed a Jordan delivery which did not rise as per the expectations and struck his pads. The English made a confident appeal but it was turned down by the umpire, leaving the visitors shocked. Pandey was lucky after a Ben Stokes delivery clipped the stumps and the LED bails also flashed, but they weren’t dislodged.