Archer swings and misses, and the series is tied! Length ball outside off, in the slot but even Archer in this mood can't manage a nine. England's challenge ends tamely
11.41pm Well, that's your lot for the night. A thiller to level the series, after three rather one-sided contests. As Morgan said earlier in the campaign, the side that plays best wins, and well, he wasn't wrong today. England were found out at crucial moments, and India found matchwinners in SKY, Pandya and ultimately Thakur, to take the contest to a winner-takes-all thriller on Saturday. Don't miss it! From Miller, Saurabh, Venkat and the team, goodnight, and I leave you with Saurabh's match report which will appear here shortly... it will be compelling reading, no doubt!
The Man of the Match is Suryakumar Yadav for his maiden innings of 57 from 31 balls, including a first-ball six: "Really happy with the way things went, I'm just trying to be myself inside, talk to myself, keep things simple and it becomes easy inside. The team management and Virat told me to go and express yourself, play like you're at the IPL."
Virat Kohli: "A tough game against a top side, and the dew factor was massive. A few instances in the middle were strange, but 180-plus was what we were looking at, and a special mention to SKY. Guys in our squad are confident heading into the IPL. Shardul turned it around but our Powerplay kept them in check."
"There was an instance in the Test series when Jinks caught the ball and wasn't sure. When there's a half-and-half effort the soft signal becomes more important. I don't know why there can't an "I don't know" call for the umpires. You want these things ironed out to keep the game linear. But we want clarity on the field."
"I ran for the ball, and aggravated my upper quad a little bit, Nothing serious, I should be fine for the game in a day and a half. Better than sprinting for five or six overs, because we have an important game coming up."
"It's not easy to walk in at three and start like that, we were stunned by that start [from SKY], he stamped his authority, big credit to these youngsters, coming in and grabbing the opportunities, you set your standards high, and Hardik bowling his four overs in the way that he did augurs very well."
Eoin Morgan: "India played better than us tonight and thoroughly deserved to win, but the game did ebb and flow. Our journey, trying to learn as much as we can before the World Cup, is important. We were very happy at halfway, and were in control for a long time. Overs 16-17, we lost three wickets in 7-8 balls which is too much against a quality side like this."
"Bairstow and Stokes did the basics well, got themselves in, they managed to negate [the run rate] over a period of time, got back in the game but frustrating not to have one or two at the end there. This decider is the closest we can get to a World Cup or Champions Trophy. All to play for, and winning away from home is more difficult for various reasons, but it would be great."
11.22pm So, we'll hear from Eoin Morgan shortly, but I suspect he won't be too disappointed by that performance. Losing is never fun, of course, but the lessons they'll have learnt are almost certainly more illuminating than was possible in two eight-wicket wins. Is there scrutiny on Dawid Malan now, who has made 80 from from 77 balls in four innings, a perfectly unhelpful tally in this form of the game. At least Ben Stokes was able to get some important game time, but he still hasn't scored a T20I fifty, which is intriguing.
Sampath has the killer stats: "England lost three out of 11 T20Is while chasing since the start of 2020. Margin of defeat in those - 1 run, 5 runs, 8 runs
Subburam : "My choice for player of the match is Pandya. In a game that was dominated by batsmen he bowled beautifully."
11.14pm And breathe. What a squeaky finish that threatened to be. Jofra Archer found his range, and Thakur lost his line for a moment. But he got his act together to close out a thriller, and it's 2-2 going into Saturday's series decider!
So, after all that chat, it turns out it is possible to win against the head in Ahmedabad. India's runs on the board proved too much for England as the run-rate began to cliimb, so hats off to Suryakumar Yadav for his maiden international innings, a thrillingly poised 57 from 31, and India's bowling attack en masse... with Mr Weak Link himself, Hardik Pandya returning the remarkable figures of 2 for 16
"The last over is never easy with the dew coming in, they were swinging hard so it was important to bowl a few dot balls and the game was sealed," says Shardul Thakur. "I tried a slow bouncer, but it [didn't come off]. If the offcutter spins, it sits on the bat nicely, so a knuckle ball is the better option. I am enjoying it a lot, a lot of overs at the death, when batsmen come hard, so I'm getting used to it now."
It has been a good day for India at the All England Open Badminton Championships too as PV Sindhu and Lakshya Sen both advanced to the quarterfinals. Read more here.
back of a length, Jordan holes out to long off! There was a huge cry of "yeah!" as that shot went up, but it was an Indian voice, as Jordan can't get enough bat through his drill over the covers, and England's challenge, wides aside, is cooked...
9 off 2...
Archer has broken his bat on a flog through the line! That was right off the toe... and all the pace comes off the ball as the batsman cross for a single to cover
wide again! Oh my... Thakur is determined to keep the ball out of Archer's arc... and he's overcooking it! He barely hits the cut strip, and it's 10 from 3...
banged in short again, but too short! Archer doesn't bother throwing the bat at that one... and out comes the umpire's signal
Pandya joins the brains trust as India plot their route to victory... Jofra just leans on his bat and looks... well, like Jofra
Ragavendra Sure: "Why is kohli in the dugout?? Isn't he supposed to be not in the field making the decisions?" It's a mystery...
Niranjan: "Pandyaweakestlink. Unlike on air commentators, we can troll you guys so much. Thats why I love Cricinfo" Troll away, it's all fun and games at the end of the day!
banged into the pitch, and Archer has launched it! Uh oh, Jofra's found his IPL range, and this is getting a little squeaky! A rifled pull, high over midwicket! 12 off 3...
Quite the conflab as Thakur and Rohit set their field
pumped through long-on! It's not a six, but it's straight enough to elude the two men back on the ropes! That gives England something to work on. Just in Archer's arc, on that occasion
an under-edged wipe, Pant springs to the leg-side to cut off the deflection. That was close to the base of the stumps
Well, it's not out of the question, but it's a big ask, especially against Thakur's cutters. England will need to get their own pace on the ball, you suspect...
crashed into the gap in the covers! Bhuve speared it out wide as Archer advanced, and that was toe-ended, effectively enough, over the rope!
Badar: "Andrew I think the phrase weakest link truly applies to England's lower order batting because normally even number 7 and 8 often bail their team out in the end with their power hitting, not so England." They don't have the depth down the order that they are used to, it's true. Bring back Liam Plunkett's levers!
out comes the yorker, right up to the toes, and punched down to long-off
another cutter, toe-ended to the covers once more
flashed high and hard into the off side. More height than distance, and plugs in the gap between two fielders
PandyaWeakestLi: "Andrew, Pandya called and he wants you to take your words back" Yep, seems fair! It was the right time to bowl him, is the point I was trying to make, in a hurry!
booming outswinger, we'll have that again
that was in Archer's arc, but his hopeful wipe to the leg-side found thin air. Another slower ball
very full length, crunched to long-on, but with no great timing
Well that's a hell of a way to finish his spell. Here comes Archer, who was tonking sixes for fun in the IPL, but you sense this cause is beyond salvation for England now
through a flat-footed wipe, and Pandya has finished it off! That wriggles through everything, bat, pad, inside-edge, down into the timbers. India are surging towards a series leveller now!
England are sinking fast here.
whistles a bouncer through to the keeper... Curran looks quizzically, but that wasn't above head height
back of a length, skids into a pull and can't connect on a swing. Pandya is doing the job superbly here. England are thrashing rather wildly
Mehul Patel: "3 over 11 Runs and took 1 wicket, how he is weakest link !!" Okay, weakest link is not the word for it... he's probably not the death option though!
short and a top-edged pull to the leg-side!
banged in short, and thumped in the midriff as Curran swings into a pull
|Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad|
|Toss||England, elected to field first|
|Player Of The Match|
|Series result||5-match series level 2-2|
|Match number||T20I no. 1135|
|Hours of play (local time)||19.00 start, First Session 19.00-20.30, Interval 20.30-20.50, Second Session 20.50-22.20|
|Match days||18 March 2021 - night (20-over match)|
Suryakumar Yadav makes compelling case for World Cup spot
Eoin Morgan: Series decider is 'closest thing to a World Cup final'
Test of loyalty looms as heat is turned up on England's World Cup contenders
Virat Kohli: Thigh issue 'nothing serious', should be 'fine' for final T20I
|JC Archer||not out||18||8|
|AU Rashid||not out||0||0|
|Extras||(lb 2, w 4)|
|Total||177(8 wkts; 20 ovs)|