All-round England dismantles India in 15.3 overs in first T20I; Archer, Roy shine

The host never look completely settled as Eoin Morgan's men excelled in all departments to secure a comfortable win at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

England captain Eoin Morgan (right) congratulates Jofra Archer on dismissing Shardul Thakur in the first T20I in Ahmedabad on Friday.   -  AP

Having endured a disappointing time in the Tests, England demonstrated that white-ball cricket is a different story altogether. The visitor, the top-ranked T20 nation in the world, dismantled India with an eight-wicket victory in the first of the five-match series here on Friday.

A brilliant bowling show kept India down to 124 for seven before the batsmen efficiently completed the job. A rapid 72-run opening stand between Jason Roy (49, 32b, 4x4, 3x6) and Jos Buttler (28, 24b, 2x4,1x6) took the wind out of India’s sails, in what turned out to be a sombre night for the big crowd at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

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As Dawid Malan (24 n.o., 20b, 2x4, 1x6) and Jonny Bairstow (26 n.o.,17b, 1x4, 2x6) applied the finishing touches, some of the spectators took one last selfie and made an early exit. England reached home in only 15.3 overs, with a powerful straight six from Malan.

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After being put in, India was slow off the blocks. The England bowlers kept it tight and built the pressure. Jofra Archer and Mark Wood bowled at good speeds - touching nearly 150 kmph - while leg-spinner Adil Rashid rarely bowled a loose ball. On a slow pitch, skipper Eoin Morgan rotated his bowlers constantly, leaving no time for the batsmen to settle in.

Opener K.L. Rahul was the first to go when an airy drive off Archer found the inside edge. Rashid, who took the new ball, got the prized wicket of Virat Kohli in the next over. Kohli, unable to get off the mark after four deliveries, backed away and tried to loft a length ball over mid-off, but couldn’t get the elevation.

Shikhar Dhawan, who replaced a rested Rohit Sharma, lost his stumps to a wild slog. At the end of six overs, India was struggling at 22 for 3.

Rishabh Pant (21, 23b, 2x4, 1x6) got the fans involved with an extraordinary reverse-scoop to an Archer thunderbolt, which landed in the third-man stands. The excitement was short-lived, however, as Pant flicked Stokes straight to Jonny Bairstow at deep square-leg.

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Shreyas Iyer (67, 48b, 8x4, 1x6) and Hardik Pandya (19, 21b, 1x4, 1x6) did the repair job, putting on 54 runs for the fifth wicket. Iyer negotiated the tricky surface by playing late, using the pace to steer his shots into gaps. Helped by exceptional timing, the Mumbai batsman recorded his highest T20I score.

Archer scalped Pandya and Shardul Thakur in successive balls in the 18th over, as the duo tried to accelerate. Iyer’s lone hand came at an end in the last over, to a fine running catch by Dawid Malan.

Archer, who found great rhythm and speed, was the standout performer with figures of three for 23.

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