India v England: Virat Kohli and Bhuvneshwar Kumar seal series in Ahmedabad

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport
Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli promoted himself to open the batting and delivered with 80 from 52 balls
Fifth Twenty20, Ahmedabad
India 224-2 (20 overs): Kohli 80* (52), Rohit 64 (34)
England 188-8 (20 overs): Malan 68 (46); Bhuvneshwar 2-15
India won by 36 runs

England lost their Twenty20 series decider to an India side that followed a batting masterclass with some wonderful bowling in Ahmedabad.

Virat Kohli anchored India with 80 not out from 52 balls, allowing Rohit Sharma (64 from 34), Hardik Pandya (39 not out from 17) and Suryakumar Yadav (32 from 17) to blaze around him.

The hosts' 224-2 was their highest T20 score against England and set the tourists what would have been their second-highest successful chase in the shortest format.

They were on course at 127-1 after 12 overs, only for Bhuvneshwar Kumar to bowl a brilliant 13th, conceding three runs and crucially having Jos Buttler caught at long-off for 52.

Dawid Malan remained, but when he was bowled by the impressive Shardul Thakur for 68, 83 from the final five overs was a huge ask.

England ended on 188-8, losing by 36 runs, with India taking the series 3-2.

A three-match one-day international series in Pune begins on Tuesday.

England fall short

England wanted this series to test them before the World Cup, with the decider delivering the stiffest of challenges.

After the India assault, Jason Roy was bowled swiping at Bhuvneshwar from the second ball of the chase, only for Malan to arrive with a fluency that was missing in the previous four games.

Buttler was typically powerful, and with Malan driving and deflecting, their partnership of 130 had England in the hunt.

However, on a run-filled pitch, it was the performance of Bhuvneshwar that proved the difference. With no great pace, he held his nerve with accuracy and trickery to return incredible figures of 2-15 from his four overs.

Thakur supported with his own changes of pace. Around the time of Buttler's wicket, England went 22 deliveries without finding the boundary.

Jonny Bairstow, Malan and Eoin Morgan fell for two runs in the space of seven deliveries, all to slower balls, and England ground to a halt.

India blaze away

Kohli's decision to open alongside Rohit united India's best two players, with devastating and thrilling results.

The languid Rohit played beautifully, driving and pulling with awesome force. A wild hack to inside-edge a Ben Stokes slower ball on to the stumps was the first mistake he made.

The first-wicket stand of 94 came in only nine overs, but there was no respite for England, with Suryakumar hitting two glorious lofted drives for sixes off Adil Rashid from the second and third balls he faced.

Kohli was the anchor, taking only 25 from his first 23 balls, then 55 from the next 29. He was joined for the final assault by Hardik, who muscled boundaries off the back foot.

England were almost powerless in the face of such destruction on a superb surface, but at times the bowling lacked variety.

Still, Chris Jordan's outrageous moment of brilliance to remove Suryakumar will live long in the memory. Sprinting round the long-on boundary, he was in perfect control when he held Suryakumar at waist height in his right hand, the catch completed when Jordan under-armed to Roy, who could only laugh in disbelief.

Dawid Malan
England's Dawid Malan became the fastest batsman to 1,000 T20 international runs, from 24 innings

What about the World Cup?

England have been keen to emphasise the importance of this series, with the World Cup in India now only seven months away.

Morgan even said it might be the last time he gets his first-choice side together before the squad for that tournament is named.

England have learnt that the express pace of Mark Wood is a huge asset in the powerplay, while Malan gave a reminder of why he is rated as the world's number one batsman after a run of low scores.

The tourists only won games when batting second and there are questions over the quality of their back-up bowling. Jordan and Sam Curran struggled to make an impact, while Moeen Ali never made it on to the pitch.

There is also a suspicion they are not finding the best way to utilise Stokes in the shortest format.

However, England's power-packed batting means they will always carry a threat. India will probably start the World Cup as favourites, but England are still to be feared.

'Lot of positives for England'

England captain Eoin Morgan: "[It has been] Extremely productive. To play a strong India team in their own conditions was fantastic. Ideally we would have played on wickets that turned more just to get that exposure. Regardless of the result we are looking to grow and get better. We played some really good cricket. There are a lot of positives to build on."

Jofra Archer in action
England captain Eoin Morgan said Jofra Archer's elbow injury has got worse during this series and will be monitored by medical staff before next week's ODIs

England T20 bowler Tymal Mills: "It was an excellent performance all-round from India. They held their nerve when Buttler and Malan were flying. Bhuvneshwar Kumar's third over was ultimately the one that swung it India's way."

India captain Virat Kohli: "It was a complete game for us. We totally outplayed the opposition. The fact Rishabh and Shreyas didn't get the chance to bat and still got close 230 is testament to how we did with the bat.

"I have batted in different positions in the past but I feel we have a solid middle order now. Now it is about the two best players getting the maximum number of balls in T20 cricket. I would like to partner Rohit at the top."

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