England secured a thrilling five-wicket victory in the second T20I against India in Cardiff on Friday (July 6) to set up the decider on Sunday.
After being put into bat, India lost Rohit Sharma (5), Shikhar Dhawan (10) and the centurion of last match KL Rahul (6) within 5 overs. At one stage, India were tottering at 22 for 3 before skipper Virat Kohli (47 runs off 38 balls) along with Suresh Raina (27 runs off 20 balls) bailed the team out of trouble with a 57-run partnership. MS Dhoni (32 runs off 24 balls) and Hardik Pandya (12 runs off 10 balls) scored 22 runs in the final over of the innings to propel India to a competitive total of 148/5 in 20 overs.
In reply, England's swashbuckling openers Jos Buttler (14 off 12 balls) and Jason Roy (15 off 12 balls) got out cheaply to Umesh Yadav but Alex Hales was determined to do well. Despite wickets tumbling from the other end, Hales (58* off 41 balls) kept his nerves and guided the hosts home with two balls to spare.
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Kohli admitted that England were the better side in the second T20I and credited the hosts batsmen for doing their homework to combat the wrist-spin of Kuldeep Yadav, who had claimed a fifer in India’s thumping 8-wicket win at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
"They played Kuldeep really well today, and that was the difference in the middle overs this time. They did their homework and played Kuldeep really well. Need to get back day after," Kohli said after the match.
"It's always difficult to come back after losing three early wickets. England hit the right areas and made us play bad shots. I would have liked 10-15 runs more. We thought 149 would be competitive, especially since they had to win. But they eventually did win," he added.
The India captain also rued the boundary conceded by Umesh Yadav in the final ball of the penultimate over.
"The format is cruel: Umesh was outstanding, but the final-ball boundary changed things. Those little things count. Gotta brush it aside, had a good game, but England were better than us," Kohli remarked.
On the other hand, England captain Eoin Morgan was pleased to see the way his troops showed character after being outclassed in the first T20I.
"We showed character. There was a bit more bounce today. When it bounces you can take wickets, and that's what we did. Willey did well, and the unit as a whole did really well. We were happy with that total. To get 150 was a cagey affair, but was happy to go over the line," Morgan quoted.
"The way Alex played today, he adapted to conditions really well, and did small partnerships that helped us chase this down. We normally play spin quite well, but it's a matter of being logical while playing," he concluded.
The third T20I between India and England will be played at the County Ground, Bristol on Sunday (July 8).