levels series

India's Shardul Thakur celebrates the dismissal of England's Eoin Morgan during the 4th T20 match between India and England at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on March 18. (ANI photo/BCCI Twitter)

AHMEDABAD, India — India’s fast bowlers squeezed England in the final overs to secure an eight-run victory in the fourth Twenty20 international March 18 and level the series 2-2.

England was cruising along at 140-4 after 16 overs before Shardul Thakur (3-42) had top-scorer Ben Stokes (46) and captain Eoin Morgan caught in the deep with his off-cutters, which eventually restricted the visitors to 177-8.

After being put into bat, India posted the series’ highest score of 185-8 despite Jofra Archer’s 4-33. Suryakumar Yadav made 57 off 31 balls while Shreyas Iyer (37) and Rishabh Pant (30) also played small cameos in the end to lift the total.

“A tough game against a top side, and the dew factor was massive,” India captain Virat Kohli said. “180-plus was what we were looking at ... Shardul turned it around but our powerplay kept them in check.”

Opening batsman Jason Roy fell in the 40s for the third time in the series when he was caught at deep midwicket off Hardik Pandya after scoring 40 off 27 balls.

Stokes and Bairstow brought England’s chase back on track with a 65-run stand off 36 balls as the Indian spinners found it difficult to grip the wet ball because of dew.

Stokes hit three sixes and four boundaries with offspinner Washington Sundar (0-52) going for plenty of boundaries with the wet ball.

Leg-spinner Rahul Chahar (2-35), playing his first game in the series, broke the stand when Bairstow spliced an easy catch at backward point and Thakur took the game away from England’s grasp with his two wickets off successive deliveries.

India’s problems at the top order continued when Lokesh Rahul (14) yet again failed while Rohit Sharma was deceived by Archer’s slower ball and offered a tame return catch.

Rahul had struggled with scores of 1, 0, 0, in the previous three games and holed out to mid-off in Stokes first over.

Leg-spinner Adil Rashid outfoxed Virat Kohli with a googly and had the Indian captain stumped for just one to leave India struggling at 70-3 in the ninth over.

But Yadav, who didn’t get a chance to bat in his debut match in the second game of the series, played some exquisite pull shots and drives while Pant and Iyer scored briskly in the end to provide India enough runs to defend.

Archer grabbed three scalps in his return spell which included the wickets of Iyer and Sundar in the last over.

“We were very happy at halfway, and were in control for a long time,” Morgan said. “Overs 16-17, we lost three wickets in 7-8 balls which is too much against a quality side like this.”

The fifth and final match of the series will be played on March 20.

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