India were the first team to take the winners medals in England after clinching the three-match T20I series 2-1. Riding on a superb century from Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and co floored England by 7 wickets to win the series-deciding final T20I ín Bristol. The win not only sealed the series for India but also ensured they have now bagged their sixth T20I series in succession. After an ordinary performance with the ball, Rohit produced one of his finest shows outside the country to absolutely dismantle the England bowling attack.
England, put into bat first by Kohli, were off to a brilliant start with openers Jason Roy and Jos Buttler looking in great touch. They posted a sensational 94-run stand for the opening wicket to set the stage for a big total. However, the Indian bowlers pulled things back towards the end to ensure England were bowled out two runs short of 200. Hardik Pandya was the best bowler for the visitors as he recorded his best figures in T20Is with four wickets.
Post the win, skipper Kohli was all praise for the young all-rounder who continues to shine and has become an integral part of the current Indian team. “Pandya is a really good all-round cricketer. He’s confident with his skills with bat and ball. He’s sure of what he wants to do. With the ball, the way he picked up those wickets after getting hit for boundaries and sixes. His all-round performance was standout today,” Virat said when asked about the all-rounder’s performance in the do-or-die encounter.
Hardik put out a gritty display with the ball after going for 24 runs in his first two overs as he bounced back strongly to concede just 14 runs off the next two and pick four wickets – two each in his third and fourth overs. He opened his account by dismissing English skipper Eoin Morgan before scalping the wicket of Alex Hales in the same over. Both the batsmen were caught by MS Dhoni.
Hardik returned to bowl the 18th over where he dismissed Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. While Stokes gave away an easy catch to Kohli, Bairstow was caught behind by Dhoni, who took a record five catches in the game. Kohli said it was a great feeling to start the tour with a series win and that the team would look to continue the momentum.
“Guys came up with the goods. We’re gonna continue and try different things. You saw the kind of energy and attitude we had on the field. Feels great to have a series win at the start of the tour,” said the Indian captain.