Virat Kohli and Ishan Kishan fifties help India level England series

England suffer seven-wicket defeat by India in second T20 match as Virat Kohli and Ishan Kishan both hit 50s as hosts draw level in five-match series

  • India levelled the T20 series with England via a seven-wicket win in Ahmedabad 
  • The hosts won the toss and put England into bat with Jason Roy starting strongly 
  • Eoin Morgan’s side slowed down after Roy’s 46 to end their innings on 164-6 
  • Fifties from Virat Kohli and Ishan Kishan helped India chase down England’s total

After the stroll, the stumble. England may yet go on to become the only team to hold both the one-day and T20 World Cups, but defeat in the second game of this five-match series was as comprehensive as victory in the first.

It was tempting to write this off as a bad day at Ahmedabad’s 110,000-seater office, but that would be to play down both India’s muscle and England’s Achilles heel. 

On the kind of slow, low surface which has traditionally stifled their strokeplay, and on which Eoin Morgan knows they must improve, they were out-thought and outplayed.

India captain Virat Kohli (right) led the way as the hosts levelled their T20 series with England a seven-wicket victory

Kohli finished his innings on 73 not out as India caught up with England’s innings total of 164

Throw in a sparkling 56 off 32 balls on debut from India’s 22-year-old opener Ishan Kishan, plus a restorative unbeaten 73 off 49 from captain Virat Kohli, and this was a satisfying evening’s work for the hosts. And didn’t another pulsating crowd, apparently oblivious to the dangers of Covid-19, know it.

This refurbished stadium has been transformed from a shabby edifice in the provinces into a proper international cauldron. And England must win two of the remaining three matches here over the next six days to claim the series. If nothing else, it is excellent preparation for the pressures of an Indian World Cup in October.

But this game was also a reminder of the work they must do in conditions not to their liking. The toss was important again, allowing India to bat when evening dew helped the ball come more obligingly off the surface. Yet that was far from the whole story.

Despite another powerful 40-odd from Jason Roy, England’s batsmen were limited by clever bowling to 164 for six. Then, after Sam Curran began with a wicket maiden, smartly manoeuvring KL Rahul about his crease, their bowling was wayward, and their fielding worse.

India won the toss and put England into bat, the visitors starting strongly through Jason Roy

Washington Sundar (right) got Roy out for 46 with him and Shardul Thakur taking two wickets

First Jos Buttler dropped Kohli down the leg side off Chris Jordan’s first ball, going for the chance with both gloves rather than just his left, which robbed him of the crucial few inches.

Had he held on, India would have been 22 for two, and Kohli would have registered another failure. Instead, the over cost 12, and the innings was up and running. The next, from Tom Curran, cost 16; the one after that, from Ben Stokes, went for 17, including a no-ball and a pair of sixes. The genius was out of the bottle; try as they might, England couldn’t stuff it back in.

Almost unbelievably, Stokes soon dropped Kishan at long-on off Adil Rashid, who had opened the bowling in Friday’s first game, but was held back until the eighth over partly because of Kishan’s reputation against spin. His 30 sixes in last year’s IPL for champions Mumbai Indians were the most in the tournament.

India’s response to England’s 164 started poorly with Sam Curran’s early wicket in the first over

Ben Stokes missed a great opportunity to get Ishan Kishan out for 40 but dropped a catch

For England, and a mortified Stokes, the drop acted as a pin in a whoopee cushion. In Rashid’s next over, Kishan creamed successive sixes to bring up a 28-ball half-century. By the time Rashid trapped him leg-before, India were 94 for two with 10 overs to go.

A cameo 26 off 13 balls from Rishbah Pant confirmed their dominance, and allowed Kohli to play his shots after making successive international ducks for the first time in his career.

He should probably have been given out stumped off Rashid on 54, but the third umpire Virender Sharma seemed in no mood to deflate a crowd of over 66,000. By then the result was a foregone conclusion. Victory came when Kohli flicked Jordan over long leg for six with 13 balls to spare – a thrashing by T20 standards.

Fifties from captain Kohli and Ishan Kishan (above) helped India chase down the total

The England innings had been a curious beast on an enigmatic surface. Buttler fell in the first over for a golden duck, but Roy put on 65 with Dawid Malan. Yuzvendra Chahal removed Malan for 24, but at 91 for two off 11 overs, a total of 180 looked feasible.

Instead, for the second time in three days, Roy fell within a blow of a half-century, top-edging a slog-sweep against off-spinner Washington Sundar to deep square leg, where Suryakumar Yadav – India’s other debutant – judged a tumbling catch to perfection.

From there, the hosts adapted better to the conditions. Their seamers took pace off – 40% of their deliveries were slower balls – and England lost momentum.

Jonny Bairstow, Morgan himself and Stokes all came and went for twenties, and it needed a last-ball four from Sam Curran to lift the total to 164 for six. But it all felt slightly underwhelming. At least tomorrow’s third game offers a chance of instant redemption.

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