Cardiff: England levelled the T20International (T20I) series at 1-1 after Alex Hales struck 12 runs off the final over to register a five-wicket win over the visitors on Friday, with the final game in Cardiff on Sunday to be the decider in the series.
Having been put to bat first, Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan failed to provide India with the cushion of a good start, with Sharma the first to return to the pavilion at the end of the second over.
Dhawan followed suit in the fifth over, as he was run out, dropping his bat and unable to make it back inside the crease before England captain Eoin Morgan collected Jason Roy’s throw and dismissed him.
K. L. Rahul was unable to repeat his Old Trafford heroics, where he scored his second T20I ton and was cleaned bowled by Liam Plunkett, the pacer returning the best economy figures of an English bowler in a T20 match in England.
Captain Virat Kohli (47 from 38) and Suresh Raina (27 from 20) then steadied the ship, with former skipper M. S. Dhoni, playing his 500th international match a day before his 37th birthday, scored 32 from 24 to help India to a respectable total of 148.
The host’s big guns at the top of the order failed to fire as Jason Roy (15 from 12) and Jos Buttler (14 from 12) fell to Umesh Yadav without substantially troubling the Indians.
Trouble, however, came to the crease in the form of Hales (58 from 41), who played a steady innings throughout, and with 12 runs needed off the last over, smashed Bhuvneshwar Kumar out of the park in the first delivery, before hitting the next one for a boundary, effectively ending the game.
The winning runs were scored by David Willey after Hales handed over the strike with a single, thus sealing their five-wicket victory and making the final game of the three-match T20I series in Cardiff on Sunday the decider, which will be followed by a three-match One Day International series and subsequently a five-match Test series. (ANI)