Superb England crush India in first T20

Published: 13 Mar 2021

Online Desk

A magnificent bowling performance set England on the way to a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over India in the first Twenty20 in Ahmedabad.

Jofra Archer's 3-23 spearheaded a relentless showing from the pace bowlers, while leg-spinner Adil Rashid opened the bowling and dismissed home captain Virat Kohli for a duck, reports BBC.

Only Shreyas Iyer, with 67 from 48 balls, got to grips with the England attack and the two-paced pitche as India struggled to 124-7.

England sauntered in the chase, Jason Roy crashing 49 from 32 deliveries to help the tourists to their target with 27 balls to spare.

The second game of the five-match series takes place on Sunday.

England stamp their authority

After England were outplayed in losing the Test series 3-1, the T20s looked like a mouthwatering contest - the two best teams in the world, with all the matches played in the world's biggest cricket stadium, seven months away from a World Cup in India.

With a full-strength side at his disposal, England captain Eoin Morgan said this was a learning experience before the World Cup.

As it turned out, the tourists were completely dominant from the moment Morgan won the toss.

As a collective, the fast bowlers were pacey, pounding away short of a length. Morgan's decision to entrust Rashid with the new ball was astute, typifying his excellent night as captain, while England's fielding was faultless.

There was no sign of England's batting struggles from the Test series, and the contest was over long before Dawid Malan sealed victory with a straight six.

Archer shows his class

Archer has endured a difficult tour, missing two Tests with an elbow injury, then using his newspaper column to respond to questions over his desire to play for England.

In the shortest format, he has few peers. Here, he put in the sort of performance that brought him the Most Valuable Player award at last year's Indian Premier League.

He had KL Rahul drag on in the second over, then later returned to have the dangerous Hardik Pandya held at mid-off and Shardul Thakur hook the next ball to deep square leg.

The rest of the pace bowlers followed his example. Mark Wood was constantly above 90mph, Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes ensured there was no respite, while Sam Curran went through his range of variations.

Still, the most telling blow came from Rashid. When Kohli slapped his fifth delivery to mid-off, a crowd of 67,200 in Ahmedabad fell silent.

India outplayed

This was a dreadful performance from India, who rested opener Rohit Sharma, then saw their batting strangled.

Iyer impressed with his touch and timing, while Rishabh Pant played an outrageous reverse ramp off Archer that went for six, but the rest made little to no impact.

Whereas England relied on pace, India chose three frontline spinners, only for Roy to climb into leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.

Even though Chahal ended an opening stand of 72 when he had Jos Buttler lbw for 28 and Roy was leg before to Washington Sundar, Jonny Bairstow arrived a man transformed from the one who registered three ducks in four Test innings.

Victory was England's biggest over India in T20s in terms of wickets and balls remaining.

'Huge amount of competition for places' - what they said

England captain Eoin Morgan: "We are trying to cover all departments, particularly when we're under the pump. Today the guys were so good they didn't allow that to happen.

"There's a huge amount of competition for places. When Jason scores runs and goes well, it really does gee the boys up."

Man of the match Jofra Archer: "I'd rather go for dot balls in the powerplay than wickets, and if you get the wicket it's the bonus. The pressure that creates normally helps the other bowler."

India captain Virat Kohli: "We weren't aware enough of what we had to do on that kind of a pitch - a lack of execution of the shots we tried to play."

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