India battled through final-over drama to beat England by eight runs in the fourth Twenty20 International and level the five-match series 2-2 in Ahmedabad.
Suryakumar Yadav smashed 57 in Thursday’s match to help the hosts to 8-185, their highest total of the series, after they’d been put into bat.
Ben Stokes and Jason Roy then came up with entertaining cameos for England but their 8-177 was not enough to stop India from levelling the series for the second time.
Shardul Thakur (3-42) looked a bundle of nerves bowling the eventful final over with England needing 23 runs for an unassailable lead.
After Chris Jordan took a single off the first delivery, Archer hit the next two for a four and a six, which seemed to rattle Thakur, who then followed up with two wides.
Archer took a single off the next delivery, breaking his bat in the process, before Thakur regained his composure, dismissing Jordan before finishing with a dot ball.
“In an ideal world we would have loved to have gone into the next game having won the series and it sounds weird saying it but we got a positive out of losing,” said Stokes.
“We go into the next game with a huge amount of pressure on our shoulders as a team because whoever wins that game wins the series. It’s a final.
“That’s great for us as a team, especially with a T20 World Cup coming up. The more pressure situations we are put into as team, the better we’ll be for it. We want to win and we want to make a habit of winning.”
The previous three matches were won by the team electing to field but India managed to buck that trend after losing the toss.
Rohit Sharma smashed the first ball of the match from Adil Rashid for a six but Archer (4-33) foxed him with clever change of pace to elicit a simple return catch.
Suryakumar Yadav pulled the first ball he faced, from Archer, for a six and raced to a 28-ball half-century.
India crossed the 50-mark in the seventh over before Stokes extended KL Rahul’s batting slump and Rashid unleashed a googly to deceive home captain Virat Kohli who was stumped for one.
Yadav smashed three sixes before Dawid Malan took a low catch at fine leg to send him back.
Rishabh Pant made a breezy 30 and Shreyas Iyer contributed 37 to push India past the 175-mark.
Kohli complained about the protocols which saw Yadav and Washington Sundar given out caught despite inconclusive replays.
Both departed as a result of the standing umpires’ ‘soft signal’, even though each incident occurred deep in the outfield.
“If it’s a half-and-half effort and the fielder is in doubt I don’t think the umpire from square-leg can see that clearly,” he said.
“Why can’t there be an ‘I don’t know’ call from the umpire? Why does it have to be conclusive? These things sometimes can really change the course of a whole game. Keep the game simple, keep the game linear and have a set of rules which are not grey.”
The teams play the deciding final Twenty20 International at the same venue on Saturday before moving to Pune for a three-match one-day series beginning on Tuesday.