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Hales leads way as England earn a series decider

 

By David Clough

Alex Hales held his nerve with an unbeaten half-century to ensure England's series-levelling five-wicket win over India in Cardiff.

Eoin Morgan's men needed to restate their white-ball credentials after their chastening defeat four days ago - and they did so to set up a Vitality IT20 decider in Bristol on Sunday.

Hales (58no) hit a straight six off the first ball of the previously miserly Bhuvneshwar Kumar's final over as England chased down 148 for five with two balls to spare.

England were exemplary with the ball, meticulous with their run-saving yorkers, and restricted India throughout after Morgan won the toss and elected to bowl.

India were 22 for three when Old Trafford centurion KL Rahul made room to try to carve Liam Plunkett back over his head but was bowled off-stump.

Although MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya provided a strong finish, India still looked well short of par on 148-5.

It seemed all England had to do was avoid early wickets and any of the mayhem inflicted by Kuldeep Yadav at Old Trafford.

Morgan and Hales had an important stand of 48, and Jonny Bairstow chipped in with some handy muscle.

Hales saw the task through with three fours and three sixes in a 39-ball half-century.

Belfast Telegraph

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