After Alastair Cook had silenced his critics in the Test series, the questions started again during England’s poor performance of the ODIs. Even Cook’s close friend Graeme Swann began questioning his ODI captaincy. Though England regained some confidence after winning the final ODI, questions still remain regarding the 2015 World Cup and England’s ability to play the shorter format.
Fortunately for Cook he got a rest from the spotlight as Eoin Morgan led England to a nail-biting win against India in the only T20 at Edgbaston.
It was a beautiful day for cricket but England set up a relatively ugly start batting first. Jason Roy and Alex Hales got off to a blinder hitting Ravi Ashwin for 17 runs in the first over but England soon lost two quick wickets with Moeen Ali getting out for a duck. The runs dried up and wickets fell just as the batsmen settled in. The ball appeared to have a homing device set to the Indian fielders with Ajinkya Rahane taking four fantastic catches and Amabati Rayudu taking another two.
The run rate was only 6.60 at the end of the 15th over with no boundaries in the previous four. With such nice weather, batting friendly conditions and short boundaries, it appeared as though England were heading for a below-par total.
However, after the 15th over, something switched on in Eoin Morgan. He hit a minimum of two boundaries an over until he got out in the 20th. Morgan struck 71 off 31 balls hitting seven sixes at an incredible strike rate of 229.03. England took 81 runs off the last five overs leaving India a mountain to climb. Ravi Bopara also played a part for England scoring 21 off nine balls to push England up to 180 and show the selectors they may have made a mistake leaving him out of the ODI squad.
India appeared to get off to an even worse start as Rahane was bowled around his legs after hitting a beautiful six behind square. Virat Kohli came in next having not reached a half century through the entire tour. Despite his lack of runs, Kohli played as though he was in the form of his life. He was moving his feet well getting to the pitch of the ball and hit Chris Woakes for three boundaries in the fourth over. Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli put on the highest partnership of the match scoring 79 runs at a rate of 8.94. They appeared to be cruising to the total even after Dhawan fell. Suresh Raina came in and alongside Kohli, they pushed the run rate over 10. Kohli got out on 66 to a short ball from Steven Finn that should have been put away but India were already at 131-4 from 14 overs even after whereas England were 130 at 17 overs.
Dhoni’s men only needed 50 from 34 balls, something they should have easily done considering England had scored 81 from the final 30 balls but everything seemed to go wrong after Kohli’s wicket fell. Suresh Raina was bowled out and Ravindra Jadeja was run out trying to take a non-existent second run. MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu had trouble timing the ball and ended up needing 17 from the final over.
Once again as he has done so often for India, Dhoni appeared to be finishing off the game as he hit a six off the first ball and a four off the fourth having rejected a single on the third. He brought it down to five off two balls but refused a single off the penultimate ball backing himself to hit a six off the last ball as he had done so often. It was a nerve wrecking over but Woakes who was bowling the final over pulled through for England bowling a magnificent slower ball that Dhoni could only get away for a single leaving India three runs short.