Suryakumar ton in vain as England secure consolation win
SuryaKumar Yadav became the fifth T20I centurion for India but his career-best 117 couldn’t prevent a consolation win for England who successfully defended their mammoth 215/7 at the Nottingham’s punishingly small Trent Bridge by 17 runs.
Both teams went a bowler short to strengthen the batting, with the hosts opting to set a target on a belter of a track. England’s commanding total was powered by Dawid Malan’s whirlwind 77 and Liam Livingstone’s unbeaten 42. In reply, Suryakumar’s 55-ball knock – a single-handed effort in the line-up where the next best contribution was 28 – kept India in the hunt for what could have been the highest T20I chase ever right until the penultimate over.
Malan, Livingstone punish India’s attack
The match-defining partnership came at a time when India were finding ways to open a window for a comeback time and again with the slower balls. Phil Salt and Jos Buttler had both been undone by the change of pace amidst a quick start that saw England well poised at 84/3 halfway through the 10th over. However, Malan and Livingstone added 84 runs in just seven overs together with the former feasting on the inexperience of the Indian bowling attack and the latter playing a perfect second fiddle while also not shying away from his strokes.
Malan made the most of the life he got on 4 when Harshal dropped a tough return catch in his follow through. He upped the ante in the 12th over with a four and a six off Jadeja to bring up the hundred for England and then meted out similar treatment to Umran Malik in the following over after bringing up his 12th T20I fifty. Livingstone, after working his way to 17 off 15, briefly took charge from there on as he duly dispatched two leg-side full tosses from Harshal comfortably over backward square leg. Between the two of them, Malan and Livingstone hit nine sixes as, despite the two wickets in the middle-overs phase, England managed to collect 100 runs.
Bishnoi brings momentary relief
The only non double-digit over through the Malan-Livingstone carnage was Ravi Bishnoi’s last that also brought down the curtains on this dangerous partnership. With England going comfortably at more than 10 an over, it took a couple of brave googlies from the leggie to apply temporary brakes on the juggernaut. Returning to the attack in the 17th over, Bishnoi gave away only two and bagged the big wickets of Malan and Moeen in the space of three balls. Malan – who added 27 to his tally in nine deliveries after his 30-ball fifty – top-edged one straight up in the air while Moeen Ali’s wild swing across the line first ball went to backward point. The relief, though, was short-lived as Hary Brook (19 off 9) and Chris Jordan (11 off 3) struck a few lusty blows of their own to help England pick 47 off the final three overs and lift their side to a record total of 215/7.
India lose top-three cheaply in record chase
After nicking the first ball from Reece Topley behind, which he believed he didn’t, Rishabh Pant spent an eternity deliberating with Rohit Sharma if he should take a review and actually run out of time for one. India kept the review but lost their opener. Virat Kohli then smoked one straight into the sightscreen, having already hit Willey for a four off the previous ball. He stepped out again seeking a third boundary in the row, but hit it straight into the waiting hands of short extra cover. The visitors had barely recovered when Topely’s slower one got the better of Rohit. Hit for two boundaries in the over, Topley made a great comeback as he sucked the pace off and Roht pulled it straight at catchable height to the deep midwicket fielder.
Suryakumar takes charge
He came in at 13/2 and saw his side slip to 31/3 in the tall chase before producing a knock for the ages with little support at the other end. With impeccable wristwork and footwork, Suryakumar put on a batting masterclass with some audacious power-hitting off both spin and pace to keep the English attack on its toes until his very last. After settling in and making just 8 off the first dozen balls he faced, he switched gears by welcoming Willey back into the attack with a four and a six. Livingstone was hit for a hat-trick of boundaries next as Suryakumar moved to a 32-ball fifty, and then swept and pulled for sixes in his next over that saw 21 runs coming off it. Richard Gleeson leaked 15 and Chris Jordan 18 as Suryakumar collected three boundaries and two more sixes to put India nearly at par with England’s score at the end of the 15th over, while moving into his 90s. The maiden T20I century came off just 48. Iyer, his partner in the 119-run stand, had contributed only 28 to that cause.
England manage to hold on
Buttler could have copped some serious flak for handing the 19th over to an offspinner had Suryakumar made it to the final over or worse, pulled a rabbit out of the hat in the final. He’d already smoked a six sandwiched between two fours off Moeen. But the gamble paid off for the hosts when the centurion mis-hit one to long-off off the fifth delivery. The remaining 25 off the last seven deliveries was always going to be too tall an ask from the tailenders. Jordan picked two to wrap up his spell with 2/37 while Topley was the pick of the bowlers for blowing away India’s top-order to finish with a highly impressive 3/22 in a 400-plus game.
Brief scores:England 215/7 in 20 overs (Dawid Malan 77, Liam Livingstone 42*; Ravi Bishnoi 2-30, Harshal Patel 2-35) beat India 198/9 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 117; Reece Topley 3-22, Chris Jordan 2-37, David Willey 2-40) by 17 runs