England: India made yet another prolific comeback in the series, winning the fourth T20I against England by eight runs on Thursday. Chasing 186 to win, England were making decent progress, when they were 66 for 2 and later when Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow were in the middle of a free-flowing partnership for the fourth wicket. Bairstow and Stokes added 65 runs in six overs when the England all-rounder really turning on the heat in the chase.
In fact, for a moment it looked as if England would walk away with the series, but three wickets in quick succession turned the momentum towards India. Deepak Chahar dismissed Rahul Chahar for a vital breakthrough, and once Shardul Thakur dismissed the dangerous Stokes and Eoin Morgan off consecutive balls, victory seemed inevitable for India. With 24 needed off the last over, Jofra Archer swung a four and six to bring the equation down to 12 needed off three before Thakur held his nerves and secured the win for India.
The win by India was the first by a team batting first in the series, with former England captain Michael Atherton asserting that this quality is what makes India a dangerous time. Atherton pointed out that had India had Jasprit Bumrah in the ranks, the fact that England came close to pulling off a win wouldn’t have been possible which highlights India’s strength.
“As we’ve seen in this game, the chasing side has enjoyed a significant advantage and listening to Thakur there saying that the dew has really come down in this game, that would suggest even more of an advantage to bat second,” Atherton said on Sky Sports.
“And also, missing a key bowler there in Jasprit Bumrah. You can imagine that if he was playing there, don’t think England would have got close to sniffing a surprise win at the end when they found themselves needing 24 off the last over. So, it shows India’s strength… terrific game.”
Atherton weighed in on England’s strength and weakness, saying that the partnership between Stokes and Bairstow is an indication that the team can rally with a left-hand, right-hand combination in the middle, but playing three left-handed batsmen in the middle order with Stokes, Morgan and Dawid Malan, England would want to re-think their heading into the series decider on Saturday.
“I thought England’s chase showed both strengths and weaknesses. You had the 14th and 15th overs, when Bairstow and Stokes were in against two spinners sending it different ways – Sundar and Chahar. He (Kohli) ended up with the wrong bowler bowling at the wrong batsman but that’s the point about the left and right hander that even a single will swap it. So that’s a strength for England when they had a right and left hander,” Atherton added.
“But once the wicket fell, Bairstow got out then you’ve got three left handers and it was a point that we made after the second game that India won… with three left handers in the middle what is the most obvious slower ball to bowl to any right arm over bowler, it’s your off-cutter and if the pitch is holding it makes it effective.”