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PHOTOS: Hales steers England to series-levelling win

Last updated on: July 07, 2018 02:10 IST

Alex Hales

IMAGE: Alex Hales hit an unbeaten century to guide England to victory. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Alex Hales hit an unbeaten half-century to steer England to a series-levelling five-wicket victory in the second T20 International against India in Cardiff.

Hales smashed an unbeaten 58 from 41 balls, hitting three sixes and four fours to guide England home in a close finish, as they scampered home with two balls to spare.

With 12 needed from the final over, Hales hit Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a six and a four off the first two balls before England collected two more singles to clinch victory.


Chasing 149, England struggled in the early overs as Umesh Yadav, who took two for 36, bowled Jason Roy (15) in the third over with a beautiful inswinger.

IMAGE: Umesh Yadav celebrates after taking the wicket of Jason Roy. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

The in-form Jos Buttler was dropped by Kohli at mid-off off Umesh in the fifth over but he failed to make most of the lifeline as he fell in the same over. This time Kohli made sure to take the catch and send back the dangerman for 14.

Hales and skipper Eoin Morgan (17) then added 48 runs for the fourth wicket.

Even as England were in cruise mode, Hardik Pandya (1-28) provided the breakthrough against the run of play. In fact, the wicket should be attributed to Shikhar Dhawan who took a superb catch at fine leg, running back before timing his leap to perfection inches inside the ropes.

Jonny Bairstow played a vital came of 28 off 18 balls, hitting Kuldeep Yadav for a couple of sixes in the 17th over to turn the tide in England's favour.

Hales reached his eighth T20I half-century off 39 balls in the final over when hit Bhuvneshwar for a straight six followed by a four as England clinched a thrilling victory.

IMAGE: Virat Kohli celebrates after Joe Root was dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Earlier, the seasoned Mahendra Singh Dhoni clobbered 22 runs in the final over to rally India to 148 for five in testing conditions.

Captain Virat Kohli top-scored with 47 against a much-improved England bowling, but it was Dhoni's effort that gave India's total a semblance respectability.

Dhoni remained unbeaten on 32 off 24 balls with the help of five boundaries.

Hoping to recover from a spin badgering, England made one change bringing in pacer Jake Ball ahead in place of spinner Moeen Ali. India were unchanged after taking a 1-0 lead in the series at Manchester.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit an unbeaten 32 off 24 balls to boost India in the final few overs. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Put into bat, India didn't get off to a great start. England used the short-ball tactic to good effect and tied down both Rohit Sharma (5) and Shikhar Dhawan (10) on a surface that offered bounce.

Rohit was the first to go, trying to pull a short delivery after failing to make contact repeatedly. He skied a catch off debutant Jake Ball (1-32) in the second over and was caught behind.

The in-form KL Rahul (6) was in next but didn't look comfortable at the crease either and was bowled by Liam Plunkett as he attempted the inside out lofted shot but failed to make connection. The groundsmen left an extra layering of grass on the wicket's top-surface and English bowlers used it amply.

IMAGE: England bowler Liam Plunkett celebrates after bowling KL Rahul. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Three balls later, Dhawan was run out in a bizarre manner as he failed to make ground going for a quick single, and lost control of his bat at the same time.

India were reduced to 22 for three in the fifth over and only managed 31 runs in the six overs of Powerplay, their lowest in the first six overs in two years.

Dhawan's dismissal had brought Suresh Raina (27 off 20 balls) and Kohli together at the crease. Despite his weakness against the short ball, the left-hander did well to help put on 57 runs for the fourth wicket with the Indian skipper.

Perhaps they were helped in this regard with Adil Rashid (1-29) coming on to bowl. Kohli, on 15 not out, survived a chance in the 11th over when he hit the leg spinner down the ground but Jason Roy at long-on was unable to take a tough catch diving to his left.

Virat Kohli

IMAGE: Virat Kohli top scored for India with a fluent 47. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Raina and Kohli brought up the 50-run stand off 38 balls as the duo looked to lift the tempo in the middle overs.

But India were dealt a blow when they were looking to push as Raina was stumped off Rashid in the 13th over.

Dhoni then came to the crease and added some quick runs with Kohli as  they took the score past 100 in the 16th over.

India were in the ascendancy during this phase but it didn't last long, as Kohli was caught at fine leg off Jake Ball, with Joe Root holding on to a low catch diving forward at fine leg.

Dhoni and Hardik Pandya (12 not out) then added 32 runs off 17 balls, with 22 runs coming off the last over from Ball.