England have lost the second Twenty20 match of the three-match series to India, meaning that the series is now all level at 1-1. This means that the winners of the final match on Wednesday, which takes place in Bangalore, will claim the series.
The game was certainly a low scoring affair, which was expected on a Nagpur pitch with big boundaries and a slow wicket. England won the toss and chose to put the Indians into bat first, hoping that dew would appear on the outfield as the game progressed, making their run-chase an easier one.
As in the first T20 match between the two sides, England’s bowling was good, with the seamers consistently changing up their deliveries to make scoring tough for the batsmen. The big breakthrough came early on, as Kohli was dismissed by Chris Jordan, however it would be his opening partner, KL Rahul, who would then go on to anchor the Indian innings.
KL Rahul’s 71 contributed towards nearly half of India’s runs, as most of their batsmen failed to fire. He received some help from Manish Pandey, who scored an important 30, however England did incredibly well to restrict the hosts to just 144-8 by the end of the twenty overs. On most pitches, this would have been seen as an easy score to chase down, however the pitch is Nagpur is tough for batsmen, so an England win was by no means certain.
England’s reply got off to a stuttering start, as both Jason Roy and Sam Billings fell early on, dismissed with consecutive balls from the impressive Ashish Nehra. That brought Joe Root and Eoin Morgan to the crease – the star batsmen from England’s win in the first T20 – and Root would end up scoring 38. Morgan could only muster 17 before he was dismissed though.
With regular wickets failing, England’s ruin chase never really got going. Ben Stokes looked good as he made 38, however the dangerous Jos Buttler could only manage 15. By the time the final over came around, England needed to get eight runs to win the came, however they were restricted by some fantastic bowling from Jasprit Bumrah, who only conceded two runs from his six balls.
After the match, captain Eoin Morgan bemoaned some of the decisions made by the umpires during the game, claiming that they cost them the match. He’ll hope that the umpires don’t do the same when the two sides meet for the deciding match in Bangalore on Wednesday.