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Amit Mishra bowled Ben Stokes of a no-ball Getty Images

Rating players in a match that produced a cliffhanger sounds like a fun job. In fact, this would be more of a judgement than ranking a player on his performance. This would be more of finding flaws, dissecting them, understanding their magnitude, and then reaching a conclusion as to whether to grade a five-pointer or gift a mere one mark for his sheer presence in the match. For example, Adil Rashid neither batted nor bowled in the Kanpur T20I. He, though, misfieled a ball at short fine-leg, followed by a stunning catch. That was that: Rashid s role in the series opener. Now, let us check whether a player emulated what Rashid did in the second T20I between India and England at Nagpur s Vidarbha Cricket Association:

Virat Kohli (5/10): I am not being biased for mentioning his name first. He, for the second time this series, came to bat at No. 1. But it is time we rate him. I would have rated him nothing had umpire adjudged him lbw when he was plumb. Ask his former RCB teammate Chris Jordon, and you should know the answer.

But later, he played a Rohit Sharma-like slap over long-off, followed by a wristy flick. He gets 2 points for that. It was spectacular. The next two points he gets for laughing when Yuvraj Singh gave a mouthful to Jasprit Bumrah. That laugh was kidlike, I tell you. It is, sometimes, indeed fun watching Kohli’s antics.

And he gets the last point for reserving the last four overs for Ashish Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah. That worked wonders for India.

KL Rahul (10/10): He did nothing wrong. Scoring 71 off 47 despite losing wickets at the other end, his innings was truly characteristic. In other words Rahul nearly scored 50 per cent of the runs.

Come to think of it, he must have heaved a sigh, for he had a torrid run since the ODIs. Ind vs Eng 2nd T20I: Highlights

Suresh Raina: (5/10): He gets two points for energetically cheering every time his teammate took a wicket, and the other point for surviving for 10 deliveries when England bowlers were on a roll. He also played a crucial role with ball, giving away 30 from his quota of four. Surely, deserves another two points for that.

Yuvraj Singh (2/10): He gets 2 points for bashing Bumrah and giving 2 points to Kohli, who laughed at it. Otherwise, he scored 4 off 12. Not his fault, in all honesty. England bowlers, especially Moeen Ali, caught the Indian batsmen in spin.

Manish Pandey (8/10): He scored 30 off 26, including a six. Agreed that his innings was not as significant as Rahul’s. But given the situation his team was in, he made sure Rahul got most of the strike. To put things into perspective, his first 8 deliveries produced 8 singles. He was also a livewire in the field.

MS Dhoni (3/10): He faced only 7 deliveries, scoring 5. He gets one point for his faster-than-the-speed-of-light wicketkeeping, one for being Kohli’s deputy in pressure situation, and one for letting Pandey ahead of him and giving maximum strike to Rahul.

Hardik Pandya (1/10): He did not bowl at all. He gets one mark for sacrificing his wicket so that Dhoni gets the strike.

Amit Mishra (9/10): He bowled leg-spin, googlies, off-cutters. He scalped an important wicket of Eoin Morgan. The only reason he does not get full points is because he overstepped in the delivery that he knocked over Ben Stokes with an absolute peach of a delivery.

Jasprit Bumrah (10/10): His figures read 4-0-20-2. He spoke eloquently at the prize distribution (I know it is called post-match ceremony but VVS Laxman prefers it calling prize distribution in the commentary box). He dismissed Joe Root and Jos Buttler in the last over, conceding only 2 runs. For all this, he get 9 points. He, in all honesty, gets the last point for making Yuvraj bash him and Kohli laughing at it. It was fun. It is good to have a laugh when in pressure situation. Jasprit Bumrah s superb bowling in final over & other stats highlights

Ashish Nehra (10/10): He got the better of openers when they were going all guns blazing. He then dismissed Ben Stokes, snatching an unlikely from the jaws of defeat.

Yuzvendra Chahal (5/10): His figures read 4-0-33-0. Poor lad went for runs, but he bravely tossed up the ball against the likes of Jason Roy and Sam Billing when he was asked to open the bowling for India.


Jason Roy (3/10): He gets two points for the long six he hit off Chahal. Otherwise, he scored only 10 off 11. Also I am a fan of his stylish batsmanship. And then gets one more point for giving Nehra ji a hope to take a hat-trick.

Sam Billings (3/10): He gets one point for the long six he hit off Chahal. Otherwise, he scored 12 off 9. And two points for being Nehra ji’s first of the consecutive wickets.

Joe Root (9/10): The scorecard suggests he scored only at a strike rate of 100. But he did everything that was asked of him before he was wrongly adjudged lbw in the final over.

Eoin Morgan (6/10): Though he scored 17 off 23, he was brilliant in making bowling changes, restricting India to 144 for 8. Morgan expresses frustration over quality of umpiring in India vs England 2nd T20I

Ben Stokes (5/10): He would have gone for a duck had Mishra not bowled a no ball. However, he made full use of the luck and score 38 off 27.

Joss Buttler (3/10): Rarely does Buttler fail while chasing. Today was just not his day. He could not manage 8 runs in the final over, falling prey to Bumrah’s genius bowling display.

Moeen Ali (9/10): His consistency is applaudable. He yet again took a crucial wicket and conceded below 6 RPO. But that one point, that hardly-earned point he loses because he could not hit six off the last ball.

Chris Jordon (10/10): If one gets the wickets of Kohli, Rahul, and Dhoni and gives away only 22 runs in 4 overs, why would not one give him full marks?

Liam Dawson (1/10): He bowled only 2 overs and gave away 20 runs. He just had a bad day in office.

Tymal Mills (4/10): His figures read 4-0-36-1. He gets all the points for bowling with heart and knocking over a set Manish Pandey in death overs.

Adil Rashid (5/10): He may not have done anything significant in the last match, but today he made full use of opportunity and dismissed Suresh Raina to put India in further trouble.

Author (?/10): You can judge me the way I judged the cricketers. There’s no harm. In fact, now I feel like Prof. Albus Dumbledore who announces house points at the end of a Harry Potter movie: and today’s Gryffindor are Team India, for showing courage like Harry did, playing well as cohesive unit like Ron Weasley did, and showing presence of mind like Hermione Granger did.