T20I: Eoin Morgan stars as England edge India in thriller
Birmingham (UK): England captain Eoin Morgan laid the platform for a thrilling three-run win over India in the lone Twenty20 international at Edgbaston on Sunday.
Morgan top-scored with a dashing 71 off just 31 balls in England's 180 for seven after he won the toss in the final match of India's tour of England.
Nevertheless, India were cruising to victory while Virat Kohli was making 66. But when he was out India lost their way and they needed 17 off the last over, bowled by Chris Woakes, to win.
England’s captain Eoin Morgan acknowledges the crowd after reaching his 50 during the T20 international match between England and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham, central England, on Sunday. Pic/AFP
But, importantly, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of the world's most dynamic limited overs batsmen, was facing and he promptly launched the first ball of the over over square-leg for six. The next ball saw India complete a risky two as Dhoni retained the strike.
Dhoni failed to score off the third ball but mishit the fourth off paceman Woakes for a boundary over long off. India now needed five to win off two balls. Dhoni then refused a single that would have put Ambati Rayudu on strike. That left him needing a six off the last ball to win the match or four to put the match into a super over.
But no boundary came as England held on for victory.
"In the last over, I missed two balls that I could have hit over the boundary," Dhoni, who finished on 27 not out off 18 balls, told the BBC.
"Hitting 17 in the last over is difficult. Rayudu had just come in and I thought I had a good chance."
Former Ireland left-hander Morgan had managed just 198 runs in his last 10 one-day international innings. But the number five showed his class in a 31-ball knock which included three fours and seven sixes.
"It was awesome... we've held our own against some of the best in the world," Morgan said.
"You've very little margin for error with someone like Dhoni at the crease.
"To come out with a win today, the guys should be proud of themselves."
He added: "It was nice to get some runs today, I was striking it really well."
Alex Hales made 40 and all-rounder Ravi Bopara 21 not out off nine balls as England scored 67 in the last four overs, with India's 'death bowling' -- an area Dhoni has said they must improve if they are to retain their 50-over World Cup title in Australia and New Zealand early next year -- again proving a problem.
India paceman Mohammed Shami led the tourists' attack with three for 38 in his maximum four overs.
"Shami bowls yorkers, but not consistently," said Dhoni.
Ajinkya Rahane led an impressive Indian fielding display by holding four catches, including a superb grab to dismiss opener Hales.
Jason Roy, given an England debut after topping this season's domestic T20 scoring charts with 677 runs for Surrey, fell for eight when he drove Shami to Rahane at extra-cover.
And 26 for one became 27 for two when Moeen Ali fell for a duck by chipping Mohit Sharma to Rahane.
But those catches were nothing compared to the one that dismissed Hales. The opener hit a huge skyer off left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja and Rahane, running in and across from the long-on boundary, held a brilliant diving catch.
Morgan, however, responded with a flurry of sixes before he holed out off Shami.
Kohli too was in fine touch before, he was caught in the deep off fast bowler Steven Finn, having faced 41 balls, including a six and nine fours. It was Kohli's lone fifty in all international formats this tour after he struggled in both England's 3-1 Test series win and the subsequent one-dayers, which India won by the same margin.
India were now 131 for three in the 15th over and, with Harry Gurney yorking Suresh Raina (25) and Jadeja needlessly getting run out, England turned the tide.