England needed 41 off 30 balls with seven wickets in hand. Had this been any other Indian ground, or any other India attack, the crowd would have started leaving. But the VCA Stadium is at least 15kms from the city centre and if you have watched 35 of the 40 overs, you might as well watch five more even if your team is losing. It also helps that India's pace attack now inspires hope and is capable of pulling things back.
Virat Kohli had a plan to counter England's position. Jasprit Bumrah had three overs left at the stage and Ashish Nehra had two in the bank. Hardik Pandya, who had bowled the last over in India's win against Bangladesh at the 2016 World T20, had not yet been given the ball in Nagpur.
There is a reason Bumrah did not open the bowling in two of the three ODIs, and was brought on as first change: to keep him for the slog overs and make him bowl with the old ball, something he does better than anyone else in the squad. The tactic didn't work well in Pune, where he leaked 48 in his last four overs as England amassed 350. In Cuttack, the one match where he did open the bowling, Bumrah's last three overs were hammered for 37 and he finished with 2 for 81 off nine overs. In Kolkata, he conceded 36 in his last four overs as England finally put up a total that they defended successfully.
Bumrah is held back for the slog overs for his ability to get the pinpoint yorkers going, which hit the stumps if the batsmen cannot connect. On Sunday night in Nagpur, the yorkers did not quite happen. He got the old ball at the start of the 16th over and he bowled full, slower than usual, but not a single yorker. He may have attempted one on the third ball but it turned out to be a full toss, which Ben Stokes whipped for four.
Nehra took the ball at the other end. He has bowled many times in such situations in T20s and is wily on sluggish Indian pitches. Back in the India side after a revival in the IPL, he also has the responsibility of bowling with youngsters and grooming them. England needed 32 from 24 and Nehra didn't do anything fancy. After four regular deliveries, he slipped in a slower one that was difficult to score off on a slow pitch. It was full, Stokes heaved and missed, Nehra went up in appeal for lbw and the umpire's finger went up in no time. He had conceded only five from the over and widened the equation to 27 from 18.
"It is not the first time that Jasprit and I are bowling together in the death," Nehra said later. "It's always difficult for a bowler to bowl four overs in the death with a wet ball. When I came they needed 32 off four overs, and I knew that had to be the over where we had to pull it off."
Bumrah had the ball again and Jos Buttler was on strike. Buttler can hit the ball hard and long, and has three of the fastest ODI hundreds for England. But Bumrah showed fearlessness and bowled full, cramping the batsman for room, and, as soon as Root came on strike on the fourth ball, he delivered two superb slow cutters. Root swung at one, tried a reverse paddle off the second but could not put them away. On the last ball, Root heaved and got two. The gap widened further for England - 24 off 12.
Nehra came back for his last over. Until then, his figures were 3-0-12-3. Buttler, however, connected. A short ball was dispatched to the midwicket boundary and a skier towards long-on only just beat Kohli near the rope. The game took another U-turn.
Eight needed from six, Bumrah with the ball. He got lucky off the first ball when Root was incorrectly adjudged lbw. Three balls later, however, Bumrah showed his guile, his ability as a specialist death bowler and why he can be dangerous even without a yorker. He followed two slower balls with a quick one at 138kph to angle it into Buttler. The ball skidded, and Buttler's stumps were uprooted. Two balls left, seven runs needed and two new batsmen at the crease. Bumrah kept it steady and stuck to a straightforward plan for the last two balls.
"Everyone knows that Bumrah always bowls well with the older ball," Nehra said. "He may bowl a one-off over with the new ball whereas I at times bowl three overs up front because I know that the team wants me to strike early, especially while defending such a 130-140 types total."
"I am not saying Jasprit Bumrah can't bowl with the new ball, he will improve over time, but his strength is bowling with the old ball."Ashish Nehra
Where Bumrah did well for India at the end, Nehra played his role at the start, taking two wickets in as many balls to dismiss the openers Jason Roy and Sam Billings, after the pair had taken 22 off three overs.
"Whether I play for India, Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers, I need to pick wickets early in such games," Nehra stated. "If you don't do that, it's highly unlikely that you can come back in such games. If a team is chasing 140-odd, even if it is 35 for no loss in six overs, 99% the team defending will lose. So I always look at picking wickets.
"On the other hand, Bumrah is an excellent bowler and his speciality is bowling at the death. Just like Lasith Malinga, who was an asset with the old ball. Bumrah has a slightly awkward action so a new batsman can't really pick him easily. He has a good slower one and a yorker. So every bowler has a strength and the team has to work around it."
After he had bowled a dot on the last ball of the match, Bumrah joyfully turned around and held his arms high in celebration. He was soon mobbed by his team-mates - Pandya, who didn't get to bowl, was among the first to congratulate him, Yuvraj came running from the deep and held him tight.
"I am not saying Bumrah can't bowl with the new ball, he will improve over time, but his strength is bowling with the old ball where he bowls well," Nehra said. "In 50-over games, he bowls at least four overs at the death. Even today he bowled three overs after the 15th, which is a big task. It's never easy to bowl the 16th, 18th, 20th over in T20s, especially in such games."
When Bumrah and Nehra walked back to the change rooms after a short post-match chat with Ravi Shastri, Nehra was taking it easy going up the stairs, while the younger bowler was skipping steps and racing up. In a way, it showed who the older, more experienced of the two was, the years Nehra had taken to achieve success. In another way, it portrayed how the other one was rising through the ranks with his own methods, overtaking his peers quickly.
Vishal Dikshit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo