T20: Suryakumar, bowlers set up series-levelling win
India set up a series decider with an eight-run win over England in an absorbing fourth Twenty20 in Ahmedabad. Suryakumar Yadav hit a sparkling 57 off 31 balls in his first international innings as the hosts posted a challenging 185-8 on the best batting surface of the series.
England struggled to get going but were still firmly in contention at 140-3 off 16 overs, only to lose Ben Stokes for 46 and Eoin Morgan in consecutive balls.
Needing 33 to win from the last two overs, Archer hit two fours and a six to set up a thrilling finale, but Shardul Thakur held his nerve as England finished on 177-8.
The first victory by the side batting first in this series sees it tied at 2-2. The final T20 in Ahmedabad is on Saturday.
England fall short of statement win
Had England managed to chase their target down, it would have ranked as one of their most impressive wins under Morgan, especially given the T20 World Cup will be held in India in October.
While Archer’s late onslaught made it close, England’s performance shows they have some issues to address, with most batsmen making circumspect starts while their Indian counterparts attacked from the off.
Dawid Malan is the world’s number one T20 batsman for good reason, but his tendency to play himself in proved costly here as he made 14 off 17 balls before being bowled round his legs by leg-spinner Rahul Chahar.
Jason Roy found some fluency after a scratchy start but fell for 40, hooking Hardik Pandya to deep mid-wicket to leave England 66-3 in the ninth over.
Jonny Bairstow and Stokes also started watchfully before starting to find the fence, with all-rounder Stokes hitting three mighty sixes before he picked out long-off.
The canny Thakur then removed Morgan, who put himself down the order to six, leaving the lower order with too much to do as India’s fine bowling performance showed winning the toss is not always a guarantee of victory.
With both openers falling cheaply and Adil Rashid having Virat Kohli stumped off a googly for only one, it seemed India might again fail to set an imposing total.
But the depths of their batting reserves proved vital as Suryakumar, who made his India debut in the second T20, shone in place of that game’s star, the injured Ishan Kishan.
Suryakumar hit his first delivery for six – an outrageous pull off Archer – setting the tone for an enthralling knock in which he reached 50 off 28 balls.
After sumptuously sweeping Sam Curran for six, he was dismissed in controversial fashion playing the same shot next up.
Malan took a low catch that was given a soft signal of out by the on-field umpires – a decision the third umpire had to stick by after multiple replays proved inconclusive as to whether Malan’s fingers were under the ball.
Rishabh Pant, who made 30 off 23 balls, and Shreyas Iyer, with 37 off 18, continued the momentum.
Although England checked it slightly late on – Stokes took a stunning one-handed catch to dismiss Pandya, and Archer struck twice in a superb last over to finish with a T20-best 4-33 – India had enough. (BBC Sport)