Alex Hales made an unbeaten 58 as England beat India by five wickets in the second T20I at Cardiff to level the three-match series 1-1. It was a tough win for the hosts, who at one point seemed headed for back-to-back defeat.
Eoin Morgan had won the toss, and put India to bat. And it wasn't a convincing batting display by the visitors, who ended up with a paltry 148 for 5 on the board in their 20 overs.
India were in a huge spot of bother within the first five overs, losing three wickets for just 23 runs. But skipper Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina controlled the proceedings and took the score forward.
Raina looked particularly impressive, taking the attack to the England bowlers on every possible occasion. Kohli, on the other hand, was knocking the ball around, scoring at just over 100.
They formed a 56-run partnership, before Raina was removed by Adil Rashid for 27 of 20 balls. In came MS Dhoni to a standing ovation from the crowd, given it was his 500th international appearance for India.
India's most experienced duo were on the crease, but even they couldn't do much against a tidy England bowling. With scoreboard not ticking much, Kohli was dismissed for 47 of 38 balls.
At that point, Dhoni was struggling to get a move on, and was stranded at 13 of 16 balls. But after his partner's departure, he took charge, and went on a rampage. He scored 19 runs of his eight deliveries, and with Hardik Pandya's 12, helped India reach 148 for 5.
In reply, England themselves made a mediocre start, losing two wickets for 33 in five overs. With Hales and Joe Root at the crease, England fans were hoping the duo would stabilize the innings and take it forward.
But the exact opposite happened. Root was struggling, and was eventually dismissed for 9. Next to come in was skipper Eoin Morgan. He and Hales managed to form a partnership, and took their side close to the target.
Morgan also dispersed back to the pavilion for 17, but by then, he had shared a good 48-run partnership with partner. In came Jonny Bairstow, and he provided the perfect foil for Hales.
Bairstow played an excellent cameo, and hit his way through the threat of Kuldeep Yadav. He scored 18-ball 28 before getting caught in the deep by Kuldeep of Bhuvneshwar Kumar's bowling. But by that time, he had done the damage.
England needed 20 in the final two overs. The penultimate over by Umesh Yadav went for eight runs, which meant Bhuvneshwar had to save 12 runs. But Hales had different ideas, as he smacked a six and four of the first two balls to reach the touching distance of the victory.
He then took a single of the next ball, and allowed David Willey to finish the proceedings. The result has pulled England right back into the series having lost the first T20I very easily.