India scripted a comprehensive win against England in the third and final T20I at Bristol to clinch the series by a 2-1 margin. Rohit Sharma’s third hundred in the shortest format along with Hardik Pandya’s all-round effort led India to their sixth consecutive T20I series win. It wasn’t an easy ride for the Indian team in the first half as England got off to a start and threatened to go past the 200-run mark. However, the bowlers led by Pandya reduced any late blows to concede 23 runs in the last three overs. Skipper Virat Kohli also acknowledged Pandya’s effort of 4/38 and deemed him as the standout performer of the day.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, a jubilant Kohli complemented his bowlers and said, “The comeback from the bowlers was outstanding. At one stage we thought they’d end up getting 225-230 which would’ve been tough. But the character they showed, that’s something we’re very proud of. Just hit our areas better I guess (in the second ten overs). We have the quality to bowl wicket-taking deliveries as well. Applied decent pressure on the batsmen and pulled the game back nicely. 25-30 runs in this format can be massive.”
Reflecting on Pandya’s heroics, he said, “Pandya is a really good all-round cricketer. He’s confident with his skills with bat and ball. He’s sure of what he wants to do. With the ball, the way he picked up those wickets after getting hit for boundaries and sixes. His all-round performance was standout today. Was difficult for the bowlers. Have to be honest. Pitch was really, really flat. We enjoyed ourselves as batsmen. England got 200-odd, we got there with few balls to spare. Don’t like to look at hindsight and say we could’ve added another bowler. Guys came up with the goods. We’re gonna continue and try different things. You saw the kind of energy and attitude we had on the field. Feels great to have a series win at the start of the tour.”
Meanwhile, a dejected Eoin Morgan expressed disappointment and said, “Tremendous start with the bat. Roy and Buttler prove a dominant force at the top, we didn’t do their platform justice. Probably fell between 20-30 short, just in our execution of shots. Faltered in execution – finding our areas and picking the balls to hit. Normally it’s one of the best parts of our game.”
“India bowled well but on a small ground on a flat wicket we’re expected to score more than that. We were okay with the ball. Difficult to defend on grounds like this. It’s more the conditions,” he concluded.