Courtesy : Sportstar ( india’s celebration)

“ He starts like a Corolla and finishes like a Ferrari “ – Dinesh Karthik on Kohli’s batting.

Indian team’s think tank  two decisions paid off well today.  Kohli to open and including a sixth bowler, T. Natarajan was laudable. 

“Your best batsman should bat the most number of overs in limited-overs cricket. So it was very important for Virat Kohli to bat at the top of the order,” Gavaskar.

“joie de vivre “  King Kohli’s knock today( 20.3.21)  was both enchanting and reprising. His batting was a behemoth influence in the latter part of the T20 series.  Today his batting evolved around “ a wait and see” game as initially he played a second fiddle role  in the early stages of the game.

Morgan believed in his team’s batting depth and again asked India to bat first after winning the toss. 

And “ the Hitman”  Rohit straight away started attacking his two mainline bowlers viz., Archer and Mark Wood.  And he also didn’t spare the lone spinner Adil Rashid.  He lifted Rashid’s 2nd over straight six after surviving a LBW appeal.

Rohit wasted no time in attacking Mark Wood hitting 2 straight boundaries including a 150 km delivery.  Kohli who opened  for the first time since 2018 in a T20 matchI played a sheet anchor role just watching Rohit taking charge on the bowlers with his occasional boundaries.

The 6th over bowled by Mark Wood proved very expensive as both Kohli who hit a “Nataraja” shot over fine leg and the glee on his eye told all that and Rohit also pulled his short ball for a six.  Within Powerplay,India scored its highest 60 runs in this series without losing a wicket.  It was  not music to the ears of the England team.

And the run rioting of Rohit continued despite the bowling changes and no respite for the change bowlers.  Jordan, Sam Curran and Ben Stokes all bore the brunt of this rampage as the run rate hiking to 10 plus.  Rohit was chancing his arms as the balls were either falling short of the fielders or dropped including Wood’s valiant attempt to catch his miscued shot behind the keeper.  Rohit completed his half century in 30 balls.   Rohit was severe on Stokes lifting him for a straight six and four in the 9th over but Stokes had the last laugh. As Rohit in an ambitious drive off Stokes played on and bowled for 64 runs off just 32 balls with five sixes and 4 fours .

And another Mumbaikar SKY continued the run riot.  As in the very first over he faced, “SKY  hit it to sky “ as his two  mighty heaves off Rashid landed in the Long-on and Cover boundaries. It was a monstrous effort.   And there was a brief lull off Stokes over as India could manage only just 4 runs only in the 11th over. 

 But the 12th over of Jordan saw raining boundaries as Kohit one boundary and Suryakumar  Yadav hit him 3 consecutive boundaries including a yorker delivery between point and third man. In the next over Kohli lifted a Stokes delivery to long on.

The brilliant athletic effort of Jordon in the deep saw the exit of Yadav.  SKY lifted a Rasid delivery to long-on.  Jordan fielding in long-on position  sprinted like Usain Bolt and  caught the ball brilliantly and in running motion he relayed the ball in the air to Jason Roy before touching the boundary rope.

All rounder Hardik joined Kohli and rampaging continued unabated as Hardik Pandya swirled his bat getting boundaries at his will.  And the England captain was at his wits end.

Now It was Kohli’s turn to turn the heat on Pom’s bowlers as he hit 2 consecutive boundaries over deep square leg off Woods.  And this pair of Kohli & Hardik put 50 runs off just 28 balls. 

 And pounding continued in the penultimate over of  the hapless Jordan.  Hardik hit back to back sixes over backward square leg and midwicket and Kohli cleared the boundary between point and thirdman. 

And Kohli remained unbeaten with 80 runs studded with seven fours and two sixes off 52 balls.

 Hardik’s cameo knock of 39 of just 17 balls clearing boundaries four times and two mighty heaves over the ropes. And this unbroken 3rd wicket pair added 81 runs off just 44 balls and set up a big total of 224 runs.

Bhuvi started in style in his very first over bowling Jason Roy neck and crop with a beautiful in-swinger.

The Indian bowlers had a taste of batting prowess of  Dawid Malan, World’s No.1 T20 batsman and the effervescent Jos Buttler started the run feast.  Malan whose credentials was on the line cut loose against all indian bowlers.  He first hoicked Hardick’s delivery over the ropes of  square leg boundary and boundaries through midwicket and backward square leg.   Buttler took on the offie Washington Sunder, and hit him for 2 boundaries through Cover and long-on and he was immediately removed from the firing line.  

Natarajan, who was chosen in place of K.L. Rahul, playing his first game in India, conceded just 7 runs in his first over and Thakur giving away just 5 runs put brakes on the run slaughtering. But it was only a brief while as in the very next over of Rahul Chahar, Buttler effortlessly lifting him two mighty sixes. Their  insane run amassing continued with fours and sixes.

The 2nd wicket pair added 129 runs in just 72 runs and looked threatening to take away the game from India before  Kohli brought on the “Go to man” Bhuvi in the 13th over and who immediately lured Buttler with a beautiful inswinger and Buttler hit it straight to the throat of Hardik Pandya at long-off.  Bhuvi conceded just 3 runs in that over.

It was the turning point of the game as the asking run rate was mounting around 13 runs per over.

Shardul Thakur, whose intelligence leg cutter saw Bairstow holing out to sweeper cover fielder and also the prize wicket of Dawid Malan .  His knuckle ball saw Malan’s stumps re-arranged.  A fine knock of 68 runs came to an end.

England Captain caved in to the guiles of Hardik who hoodwinked with a short ball and was well held on long-on.   And the game was slipping out of England as Stokes edged Natarajan’s wide off side delivery and in the same over Archer was Runout.

Though Sam curran hit some lusty strokes in the last over of the game, it was too late as India won by 36 runs and also the series by 3-2 and lifted the PAYTM Trophy.  There were rambunctious celebrations by the players holding the trophy.  

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