England hearth fiery salvo

Ahmedabad, March 12

England romped to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over India in the first match of the five-game T20I series, with 27 balls to spare, the win never in doubt after they had restricted the home team to 124/7 in 20 overs.

Brief scores

  • India 124/7 (Iyer 67, Pant 21; Archer 3/23, Rashid 1/14, Wood 1/20)
  • England 130/2 (Roy 49, Buttler 28, Bairstow 26; Sundar 1/18)

We just weren’t aware of what we had to do on that pitch, lack of execution on our shots and something we have to address —  Virat Kohli, India captain

Plans were basic, hit a length and bowl straight, we didn’t have to go to plan B and C very often, which is always a good sign —  Eoin Morgan, England captain

If India had any hopes of restricting England to below 124, they were crushed by an opening partnership of 72 in eight overs between Jason Roy (49 off 32 balls) and Jos Buttler (28 off 24). When the first wicket fell, Buttler being trapped lbw by Yuzvendra Chahal, England needed only 53 more off 72 balls, an equation that was heavily weighed against India.

Roy had got the chase going by striking Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a four at the square leg boundary in the second over, and then hitting Chahal for a six over the midwicket fence and a four through the backward point region. India’s bowlers, whom Kohli rotated quickly, did not trouble Roy and he continued to attack, hitting a four and six off successive deliveries from Axar Patel in the fifth over. Roy hit Patel for another six in the seventh over before striking Chahal for a four and six off successive balls in the eighth over.

The Indian bowlers were running out of ideas in defending their small total, and it was then that Chahal trapped Buttler to make it 72/1. Roy too was trapped lbw, by Washington Sundar, in the 11th over, but by then, having struck four fours and three sixers, the opener had put England on the track to victory. Jonny Bairstow then took over, and he too put up a display of awesome English striking abilities, with two sixers off Chahal in the 13th over. With that, England needed 18 off 42 balls, and the chase was more or less over.


India’s batsmen had struggled to score freely — a scenario that was the exact opposite of Virat Kohli’s wishes yesterday — before Shreyas Iyer showed the way with a dogged 67 off 48 balls.

Only three Indian batsmen reached double figures, and two of them scored at less than run-a-ball, and it was only Iyer’s innings that helped India get past 100.

The home batsmen never got the momentum going as England’s pace-heavy attack, led by Mark Wood, used the extra bounce effectively to trouble them. Most of the Indian batsmen went for flashy shots when placement would have served them well. The track had varied pace and required the batsmen to play with patience.

Iyer gauged the nature of the pitch quickly and adjusted his game, playing a sensible innings that avoided total humiliation for India.

Laced with eight boundaries and a six, and coming off 48 balls, this is Iyer’s best T20 knock. He fell in the last over, attempting a big shot off Chris Jordan.

England surprised India by opening the attack with leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who was not only economical but also dismissed Virat Kohli (0) after KL Rahul (1) dragged one back onto

his stumps from Jofra Archer, who finished with 3/23. — TNS, agencies

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