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There was a lot of hype surrounding India's tour of England and the start has lived up to everyone's expectations. Both England and India were coming off from a great limited over series and we knew that we were in for a cracker of a contest as very little separated the two sides.
India won the 1st T20I, England came back strongly in the 2nd one to level the series and the stage for the series decider was all set. Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to put in the England side to bat first. There were a couple of interesting changes to the Indian side as the decision of dropping Kuldeep stirred quite a few debates around. While Siddarth Kaul replaced the experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had to sit out because of a stiff back, Deepak Chahar made his debut replacing Kuldeep as the conditions demanded an extra seamer.
The opening duo of Jos Buttler and Jason Roy went about their business and ripped apart the relatively inexperienced Indian pace attack. The pitch was flat and there was no assistance for the bowlers whatsoever. England amassed 73 runs in the powerplay without losing any wicket, and Buttler and Roy seemed to run away with the game. Siddharth Kaul came back in the 8th over to dismiss Buttler but the run flow didn't stop as Roy was adamant to help England post a formidable total on board.
Roy fell to debutant, Deepak Chahar in the 10th over but the scoreboard read 111-2 after 10 overs and there were still quite a few power hitters waiting in the English dugout. When every bowler was going at an economy of above 9, Yuzvendra Chahal bowled a brilliant spell of 4 overs giving away just 30 runs. He went wicketless, but his controlled bowling in the middle overs led to the slump of the English batting from the other end.
Hardik Pandya, who was taken apart in his first over for 22 runs, came back strongly to pick up 4 wickets giving away just 16 runs in his next 3 overs. He got both Morgan and Hales in his third over and then came back to dismiss Bairstow and Stokes in his last. England lost track and couldn't really get going after the back to back blows. Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul tidied things in the last two overs as England ended their innings with 198 on board, at least 25 short considering the nature of the pitch.
The chase started off well for India as Rohit Sharma looked in good touch from ball one, who otherwise takes his time to settle in. Shikhar Dhawan fell early trying to flick a nothing delivery from Willey and ended up being caught at short fine leg. The in-form KL Rahul joined Rohit in the middle and drove the very first ball straight down the ground for a boundary. Rohit smacked Chris Jordan for 16 runs in the 4th over and India looked solid going about this run chase.
Rahul was looking dangerous but was dismissed, courtesy a blinder of a catch from Chris Jordan who ran all the way from mid-on to long-on and made a full stretch dive to complete this unbelievable catch. India didn't really show any signs of slowing down as Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma kept founding the odd boundary every over and communicated well to rotate strike. Virat looked in good form and it seemed as if this duo will see India through but another stunning catch from Jordan off his own bowling sent Kohli back in the hut for a well made 43 that included 2 fours and 2 maximums.
Hardik Pandya, who had a good day with the ball was promoted up the order above MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina. The fall of Kohli put a break on the flow of runs and 44 were required in the last 4. Pandya broke free in the 17th over as he smacked the first 2 balls for a boundary and then Rohit sent the 4th ball to the boundary to put the pressure back on England. Pandya hit a few lusty blows in the 17th over as well as India gathered 20 from that over and looked to finish things off in a hurry.
Rohit went on to register his 3rd T20I hundred of his career, becoming only the 2nd cricketer to do so and with just 4 runs remaining for victory, Pandya smoked the 4th ball of the 19th over, over long on for a maximum. India made a mockery of the chase as they won the game by 7 wickets with 8 balls to spare and also ended up winning the series 2-1.
The action now shifts to Trent Bridge where the first of 3 ODIs will take place on July 12th, and India will look to continue their supremacy in the limited overs format.