Clinical England hammer India by 8 wickets in first T20I

England openers Jason Roy (left) and Jos Buttler (right). Pic: ICC
England openers Jason Roy (left) and Jos Buttler (right). Pic: ICC
Modified 12 Mar 2021

England batsmen tonked Team India bowlers to all parts of the ground as the visitors completed a dominating eight-wicket win in the first T20I in Ahmedabad.

After some excellent bowling from England restricted Team India to 124 for 7, Jason Roy and Jos Buttler featured in a blistering 72-run stand for the opening wicket. Roy, the more dominant of the two, kickstarted his innings by lofting comeback man Bhuveshwar Kumar for a four over deep square leg in the second over of the chase to make his intentions clear.

The right-hander then greeted leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal with a six over midwicket, followed that up by cutting a googly for four, courtesy a misfield at backward point. Buttler joined the fun by thumping Test hero Axar Patel to long-off and midwicket for a four and a six, respectively. The wicketkeeper-batsman drove one past mid-on as England closed out their powerplay by bringing up their fifty.

England continued to attack, with Roy launching Axar Patel for a maximum over deep midwicket before carting Chahal for a four and a six - first through midwicket and then over deep square-leg. The partnership ended when Buttler (28 off 24) played down the wrong line to Chahal and was trapped in front.

Roy fell one short of a fifty, as he missed a flick off Washington Sundar and was adjudged leg before wicket for 49 from 32.

With Jonny Bairstow, who could barely put bat to ball in the Tests, launching Chahal for two sixes in an over, England wrapped up a facile win. He was unbeaten on 26 off 17, while Dawid Malan (24 off 20) finished off things in style, launching Sundar for a maximum over long-off in the 16th over.

Except for KL Rahul’s spectacular save on the long-off boundary early in England’s innings, there weren’t any moments of magic from India; Rahul had caught the ball and released it mid-air to save a certain six.

Jofra Archer picks three as England bowlers stifle India

England pacer Jofra Archer claimed three wickets to peg back Team India. Pic: ICC
England pacer Jofra Archer claimed three wickets to peg back Team India. Pic: ICC

Shreyas Iyer hit a fluent 67 off 48 balls. However, the England bowlers dominated proceedings to restrict Team India to a meagre 124 for 7.

After winning the toss and deciding to bowl first, the visitors got off to a brilliant start when Rahul and Indian captain Virat Kohli were back in the hut for 1 and 0, respectively. While Rahul dragged one from Jofra Archer back onto his stumps, Kohli hit Adil Rashid straight to mid-off.

With Team India deciding to rest vice-captain Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan got a chance to open the innings. However, the left-hander struggled against the pace of Mark Wood and was cleaned up for four off 12 while going for a wild swing against the line. Team India crumbled to 20 for 3 after five overs following Dhawan’s departure and never really recovered from there.

Iyer was the only Indian batsman who looked in control out in the middle. He picked the gaps with precision, finding the boundaries, after coming to terms with the two-paced nature of the wicket. Early in his innings, he guided a short one from Wood off his hips for four.

As he approached his fifty, he scored back-to-back boundaries off Archer - one timed off his legs to square and the other steered through backward point. Iyer brought up his fifty off 36 balls, driving Chris Jordan through covers for a single.

Iyer found little support from the other end, though. Rishabh Pant (21 off 23) looked good during his short stay at the crease; he even reverse-flicked the pacy Jofra Archer for six over the keeper’s head. However, his pick-up shot off Ben Stokes went straight to Bairstow.

Hardik Pandya slammed Stokes over mid-off for a six and managed to guide a short ball fine of deep third man, even after losing his balance. But he looked rusty for the most part, though. The all-rounder perished for 19 off 21 after mistiming Archer to mid-off.

The fast bowler snared two in two when Thakur hooked a bouncer straight to deep square-leg.

Iyer, himself, perished in the last over to Jordan, brilliantly taken by Malan, who was on the run even as he took the catch. Malan would return to finish off the match in style for England with the bat.

Published 12 Mar 2021
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