NEW DELHI: Captain Eoin Morgan smashed a 37-ball fifty as England beat India by seven wickets in the first T20I at Green Park in Kanpur on January 26 to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Riding on their openers’ fiery start, Morgan’s mid-innings onslaught and Joe Root’s finishing hits, England chased down the 148-run target with 11 balls to spare.
Openers Jason Roy and Sam Billings gave England a flying start rattling up 36 runs in 3 overs. Ashish Nehra leaked 16 runs off his 2 overs and Jasprit Bumrah was hit out of the attack by conceding 20 runs off his one over. It was Yuzvendra Chahal who restored sanity to the proceedings by dismissing both Roy and Billings in his first over. Roy (19) played the ball onto his stumps while Billings charged down the pitch but missed the ball completely to be clean bowled.
Morgan and Root put up a 83-run stand off 69 balls for the third wicket to vanquish any hopes of an Indian miracle. Leading from the front, Morgan smashed 4 sixes and a four in his 38-ball knock to put England on the path to victory. Morgan reached his fifty off 37 balls with a six but fell next ball caught by Raina off Rasool.
Root made the rest of the run chase look like a cakewalk as he took England over the ropes with an unbeaten run-a-ball 46 that was studded with four boundaries.
Earlier, England churned out a good bowling display not allowing the Indian batting might to take off and restricted the hosts to 147/7. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (36*) and Suresh Raina (34) gave some respectability to the Indian total as the hosts batsmen failed to take advantage of the placid track after they were asked to bat first by Morgan.
Opening the batting, captain Virat Kohli made his intentions pretty clear right from the word go by getting off the mark on the third ball of the match with a smashing hit over backward point for four off Tymal Mills and followed it up with another aerial shot over mid-on in the next over by Chris Jordan for the same result. In the fourth over, Liam Plunkett was greeted into the attack by Kohli with two successive shots over the infield for boundaries.
At the other end, KL Rahul’s struggle was cut off by Jordan who had him caught by Adil Rashid at short fine leg and in walked local lad Suresh Raina promoted up the order on his comeback and smashed two boundaries to finish India’s Powerplay at 47/1.
Moeen Ali got the prized wicket of Kohli (29) off his very first delivery when he had the Indian captain caught by his England counterpart Morgan at short mid-wicket. Kohli’s wicket triggered a mini collapse as India lost three wickets in the next seven overs. Adil Rashid took a good catch at fine leg to dismiss Yuvraj Singh (12) off Liam Plunkett. Raina hit a superb six over long-on off Ben Stokes but the England all-rounder had his revenge off the next delivery by castling the southpaw’s leg stump to place India at 95/4 in 12.3 overs.
Moeen then took his second wicket when he trapped Manish Pandey (3) plumb in front of the wicket and Hardik Pandya threw his bat around but could manage only 9 runs before falling to Tymal Mills.