Report: India vs England – 1st T20I
Leaving the heartbreaking Test series defeat behind, Team India got back the winning feeling by defeating England in the first Twenty20 International, at Pune. The young brigade led by the all-round heroics of Yuvraj Singh registered a five-wicket win with 13 balls to spare.
After MS Dhoni elected to field first at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, Yuvraj contributed with figures of 3/19 from four overs to restrict England to 157/6. He then paved the way for the win with a 21-ball 38 with the bat.
Opening the batting with Gautam Gambhir (16), Ajinkya Rahane (19) showed his class early on with two beautiful straight-bat sixes. Gambhir made the most of Jade Dernbach’s waywardness by flicking merrily past the fine-leg fence, before perishing to a pull shot off Tim Bresnan. Next ball, Stuart Meaker grassed a dolly as Virat Kohli mis-pulled his first ball. The bizarre fifth over was capped off with Rahane playing an inexplicably poor shot to hole out to Samit Patel. India went from 41/0 to 44/2 in an over.
The onus was on the reprieved Virat and bowling hero, Yuvraj Singh, to put India’s chase back on track. Yuvraj led the way by unleashing his trademark down-on-the-knee heave over the midwicket thrice in a row to left-arm spinner, Danny Briggs – for two sixes and a four. The Yuvi show ended prematurely when he holed out in the deep to Meaker, trying to pull Luke Wright.
A short consolidation period between Virat and Suresh Raina ended after 17 runs when Virat edged a pull on to his stumps to give Meaker his first T20I wicket. But by that time, India were well on course.
The ever-so-calm pair of MS Dhoni (24*) and Suresh Raina (26) displayed all the qualities that make them such a dangerous duo in limited overs cricket. They found the gaps, ran hard between wickets and punished the odd ball. Even as Raina was run out in the 18th over, India were closing in on a comfortable win. It eventually came in the same over when Dhoni pulled and cover drove Meaker for fours, before taking a comfortable double.
Earlier, Alex Hales hit the ground running for England by scoring two boundaries off the first over, bowled by Ashok Dinda. Ashwin, sharing the new ball with Dinda, started with a maiden over and followed it up with the scalp of Michael Lumb in his second over. Lumb perished lbw trying to go for the sweep.
After that the Indian bowlers – pacers and spinners alike – took turns to get smashed into the stands by Hales. Dinda and debutant Parvinder Awana got hit for two fours each in their respective first overs. Ravindra Jadeja was smashed for a straight six and swept for a four when he took first took the ball. Ashwin followed suit as Hales brought up England’s 50 in the sixth over. Hales’ contribution was 42. The 6’5” England opener brought up his half-century in 28 balls.
Luke Wright joined Hales in the onslaught with a cameo of 34 (21 balls). Such was the power of their hitting that Dhoni had to use seven bowlers in the first 10 overs of the innings. England had amassed 89 for one by then.
England’s run juggernaut was brought to a halt by Yuvraj Singh. He got Luke Wright in the deep, clean bowled Hales and got a top-edge from Eoin Morgan (5) caught at mid-on – all in the span of 10 balls. Such was his control over the ball that the England batsmen took 19 balls to get their first boundary off him. Yuvraj’s spell of 3/19 changed the course of the match in India’s favour.
Samit Patel tried to break the shackles by carting a Ashwin for two sixes in an over, but Dinda cut the party short by bowling a magical 19th over. It produced two singles and the wickets of Patel and Tim Bresnan. The massive improvement in Dinda’s bowling figures was the result of pitching the ball much fuller than he did in the first two overs.
However, Jos Buttler took advantage of Awana’s inexperience in the last over and smashed him for two sixes to take England’s total to 157/6.
Man of the Match: Yuvraj Singh for 3/19 with the ball and 38 off 21 balls with the bat
Brief scores: India 158/5 (Yuvraj Singh 38; Tim Bresnan 2/36) beat England 157/6 (Alex Hales 56; Yuvraj Singh 3/19) by five wickets