When Jofra Archer came out to bat, England had a mountain to climb with 33 runs remaining to be fetched in just 12 deliveries. However, his late onslaught in the final over did give Shardul Thakur and India quite the scare. 

And despite a nervy start, Thakur’s bag full of variations, in the end, managed to neutralise the English pacer’s pinch-hitting and win the 4th T20I at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday by just eight runs. The series is now tied with both India and England grabbing two wins each and will be decided in the fifth and final encounter on Saturday.

ALSO READ | Rohit Sharma becomes 2nd Indian after Virat Kohli to score 9,000 T20 runs

Coming out to bat in what seemed like a lost cause, Archer negated Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s final over of the spell seamlessly before smashing him for a boundary off the last delivery. 

With Chris Jordan on strike, England needed an improbable 23 runs off the final six deliveries. Jordan edged Thakur’s first delivery to the leg-side for a single. 

Archer on strike. A bit fuller from Thakur and right in the Barbados-born’s arc, as he dispatched it for a four over long-on.

In the next delivery, trying to evade Archer’s favoured zone, Thakur pitched it short and the England pacer whacked out into the stands for a maximum. 

Emotions were running high in the Indian dressing room with still 12 needed off 3. But soon things started going from bad to worse. 

Determined to keep the ball out of Archer’s arc, Thakur tried to bang the ball short but ended up conceding two consecutive wides, bringing the equation down to 10 off 3 balls.

However, in his attempt to power the next delivery through the covers, Archer ended up breaking his bat and probably broke quite a few English hearts. The ball only travelled enough for the two tailenders to sneak in a single. 

With 9 remaining off 2 balls, Jordan fell victim to Thakur in the penultimate delivery and Archer ended his innings with an effort to clobber the ball but in vain. 

ALSO READ | Suryakumar Yadav shines with maiden T20I fifty against England

“The last over is never easy with the dew coming in, they were swinging hard so it was important to bowl a few dot balls and the game was sealed,” Shardul Thakur said in the post-match conference.

“I tried a slow bouncer, but it [didn’t come off]. If the offcutter spins, it sits on the bat nicely, so a knuckle ball is the better option. I am enjoying it a lot, a lot of overs at the death, when batsmen come hard, so I’m getting used to it now.”

While it was India’s game to lose, Jofra Archer’s cameo of 18 off 8 deliveries did make the home team break a sweat. Now India will look to seal the series with a victory on Saturday.