Kanpur: Eoin Morgan’s 51-run knock and Joe Root’s unbeaten 46 helped England beat India by seven wickets in the first Twenty20 International in Kanpur on Thursday. After being set a target of 148 runs by the hosts, who reached the total of 147/7 from 20 overs after some disciplined bowling from England, the visitors rode to an easy win despite a couple of hiccups in their innings early on. Yuzvendra Chahal picked two wickets for India, while debutant Parvez Rasool picked one.
England made a bright start during their chase, with opening batsmen Jason Roy and Sam Billings going all guns blazing against the Indian bowlers. Jasprit Bumrah went for 20 runs in his first over as England added some quick runs early on.
However, the complexion of the game changed when Yuzvendra Chahal picked two wickets in the fourth over, the first over of his spell, removing both Roy and Billings to bring India back into the game.
Joe Root and skipper Eoin Morgan, however, steadied the visitors’ innings following the two dismissals, and despite their run rate slowing down in the subsequent overs, the lack of wickets for India during the period proved crucial as the English duo settled down and started adding runs with ease.
Morgan later completed his eighth fifty in T20Is with a big six, but was dismissed in the next delivery. With Root still at the crease, England held on and chased down the total with 11 balls to spare, winning by seven wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three match series. Root was unbeaten on 46 when England clinched the win.
Earlier, Indian batsmen were found struggling against a disciplined England bowling attack, wuth loss of wickets at regular intervals not helping their cause. MS Dhoni’s 36 off 27 balls towards the end helped them get closer to 150. The other contributions came from captain Virat Kohli (29 off 26), who opened the batting, and comeback man Suresh Raina (34 off 23).
Offie Moeen Ali was the most successful bowler for England, ending with figures of two for 21 in four overs. It was expectedly a packed house for the first ever T20 International at the Green Park.
The conditions were overcast when the two teams came out for the national anthem and that meant the first ball was bowled with all four floodlights fully operational. Kohli began his innings with a cracking boundary through backward point off Tymal Mills, rated as one of the fastest bowlers in England. The second over bowled by Jordan saw couple of plays and misses from Kohli before the star Indian batsman spanked the English pacer over mid on for a four.
However, Rahul fell soon after and Kohli was dismissed in the seventh over while trying to whip Moeen Ali over mid-wicket. The Indian wickets kept fallng, with Yuvraj Singh, Raina and Manish Pandey losing their wickets at crucial juncture.
Dhoni’s unbeaten 36 eventually propelled India to 147/7, a score that eventually didn’t prove to be enough for a win. England now lead the three-match series 1-0. The second match of the series will be held in Nagpur on Sunday.