Alex Hales smashed an unbeaten fifty to help England beat India by five wickets in the second T20I at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Thursday and level the series 1-1. After being thrashed in the first match at Old Trafford, it was a spirited performance by the Three Lions as they chased down a target of 149 in a thrilling last over finish. Earlier, India were put into bat first and on a track which was not a flat deck. Adil Rashid and David Willey’s fine bowling performance restricted the Indians to 148/5 in 20 overs. In reply, England rode on Alex Hales’ unbeaten 58 off 41 balls to secure their fifth win at Cardiff, most by a team in any venue in T20I. As a result, India’s run of seven successive wins also comes to a grinding halt.
England skipper Eoin Morgan won the toss and put India into bat first. However, the visitors failed to get off to a good start as England tied down both the openers and dismissed them early. With KL Rahul’s dismissal, India were tottering at 22/3. But Virat Kohli, who top scored with 48 struck a 50-run stand with Suresh Raina which put India on a respectable position. But India lost the momentum once Raina departed. It seemed like 120 would be a difficult task but late strikes by MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya ensured India secure a respectable total on the board. 22 runs came off the last over as India ended with 148/5. 148/5 is the second-lowest total made by India batting all 20 overs.
England would have been happy at the start with 149 as a target. But like India, they too lost early wickets and at one stage were 44/3. But Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales kept the scoreboard ticking and arrested any further chances of a collapse. The much-feared wrist spinners were also milked for runs as the Three Lions successfully cruised past the middle overs. India did sniff a chance with Bairstow’s departure in the 17th over but Bhuvneshwar Kumar failed to defend 12 runs of the last over as England got home with five wickets in hand.