India registered a thrilling win in the fourth T20I against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium and levelled the five-match series 2-2 with a game to go.
Fast bowler Shardul Thakur bowled the 17th over of England’s innings. At that stage, the tourists were 140/4, with Ben Stokes smashing the dew-swamped ball in different parts of the ground.
The 29-year-old Thakur delivered and brought his team back into the game with wickets of Stokes and English captain Eoin Morgan on the first two balls. Thakur then bowled the most difficult over of the night – the 20th – and defended 23 runs against a rampant Jofra Archer and all-rounder Chris Jordan to seal a memorable 8-run win for his side.
In the post-match presentation, Thakur revealed that vice-captain Rohit Sharma told him to back his instincts after being hit for a six by Archer in the final over.
“Hardik had some plans but Rohit just wanted me to back my instinct. He mentioned one side of the ground is shorter and just asked me to keep it in mind and asked me to apply myself,” Thakur said.
The Mumbaikar admitted that it was tough to grip the ball with the dew coming in heavily.
“There was a lot of dew in this match, which wasn’t true of the last three matches. They were swinging hard in the last over, and it was important to bowl a couple of dot balls and then the game was sealed. The dry ball worked for them, and when I tried a slow bouncer it was in the slot and it went for six. If we bowled the slow ones on the stumps it would’ve been easy to hit, so the target was to keep it away from their power zone. If the ball is drier, it’s easier to grip for the knuckle ball.”
In addition to his brilliant bowling, Thakur also played an important cameo of 10 runs off four balls in the first innings, which eventually proved to be the difference between them.
The series decider will be played at the same venue on Saturday, March 20.