Millennium Post

Hales powers England to 5-wicket win

Cardiff: Alex Hales struck an unbeaten 58 off 41 balls to power a much-improved England to a series-levelling five-wicket victory over India in the second T20 International here.

The hosts scored 149 for five in 19.4 overs to overcome India's sub-par total of 148 for five on a Sophia Gardens surface that offered bounce.

Virat Kohli had top scored with 47 runs off 38 balls as the visitors struggled to get going after being put into bat.

England used the short-ball tactic to good effect and tied down both Rohit Sharma (5) and Shikhar Dhawan (10).

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.

First game's centurion KL Rahul (6) was in next but didn't look comfortable at the crease either. The groundsmen left an extra layering of grass on the wicket's top-surface and English bowlers used it amply.

With the short boundaries, they used short bowling against every top-order batsman. Even an in-form Rahul couldn't contend with this tactic, thus managing to miss an off-cutter from Liam Plunkett (1-17) in the fifth over and was bowled.

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 22-3 in the fifth over and only managed 31-3 in the powerplay overs. It was India's lowest powerplay total for 27 consecutive T20Is since June 2016 when they scored 29-3 against Zimbabwe in Harare.

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 to long on only for Jason Roy to drop and push the ball past boundary for a six.

Raina and Kohli brought up their 50 off 38 balls and immediately afterwards the former upped the ante. He started looking for quick runs with his partner holding one end together. It didn't work, as Raina was stumped off Rashid in the 13th over.

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