England vs India Only T20: Captain Morgan leads England to victory in tense contest

Morgan was named Man of the Match for his game-winning innings of 71

Morgan was named Man of the Match for his game-winning innings of 71

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

England captain Eoin Morgan smashed a scintillating 71 to lead his side to a nail-biting three-run victory against India in the one-off Twenty20 International in Birmingham.

Morgan was well supported by opener Alex Hales, who scored a brilliant 45.

However, India batsman Virat Kohli also deserves some credit as he finally found some form and hammered a valiant 66.

Morgan would have been brooding over his decision to bat first after debutant Jason Roy was caught by Ajinkya Rahane at cover off the bowling of Mohammed Shami for eight runs.

Moeen Ali failed to trouble the scorers as he was also caught by Rahane in the covers, but only off the bowling of Mohit Sharma.

Hales smashed a quickfire 40, which came off 25 balls and included three boundaries and three sixes, before he was brilliantly caught by Rahane at long-on off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja.

Hales walloped three boundaries and three sixes during his knock of 45

Hales walloped three boundaries and three sixes during his knock of 45

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

After being dropped by Ravichandran Ashwin on eight runs, Joe Root managed to make 26 runs before he was caught by debutant Ambati Rayudu at deep midwicket to give fellow debutant Karn Sharma his first Twenty20 International wicket.

Jos Buttler only made 10 runs before he was caught by Rayudu at deep midwicket off the bowling of Shami.

Morgan came to the rescue with a highly entertaining knock of 71, which came off just 31 balls and included three boundaries and an incredible seven sixes, before he was caught by Rahane at long-off off the bowling of Shami.

Rahane made history when he took the catch to dismiss Morgan as he became the first Indian and only the fifth cricketer to take four catches in a Twenty20 International.

Chris Woakes did not make any runs as he was run out by India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for a diamond duck.

Thanks to Ravi Bopara’s rapid knock of 21, England finished on 180/7 off their 20 overs.

Shami was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Mohit Sharma, Karn Sharma and Jadeja chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 181 to win, India got off to a poor start as Rahane was clean bowled by Ali for eight runs.

Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan made up for the early loss of Rahane with a 79-run partnership before Dhawan was cleaned up by Chris Woakes for 33.

Kohli went on to score 66 off 41 balls, which included nine boundaries and a six, before he was caught by Hales at deep square leg off the bowling of Steven Finn.

Kohli made a gutsy 66

Kohli made a gutsy 66

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Suresh Raina managed to make 25 runs before he had his stumps shattered by a toe-crunching yorker from Harry Gurney.

Jadeja mustered seven runs before he was run out by Bopara.

Needing 17 to win off the last over, Dhoni took it upon himself to lead his team to victory. However, despite making a strong start, Dhoni failed to get the job done and India ended up losing the game by three runs.

Finn, Ali, Gurney and Woakes claimed one wicket each.

Dhoni was gutted to have lost the match by such a close margin, and said: “In the last over, I missed at least two I could have hit over the boundary, it was a difficult task and one of those days when it didn’t go our way. I thought if I was middling it, I would have a good chance but it didn’t pay off. Overall I thought the chase was good but we probably gave away too many runs in the latter overs. But, we bowled well in the middle. Shami is someone who does bowl yorkers but wasn’t consistent today. 180 was a score we should have got. There were quite a few excellent catches taken and that was the reason we kept them to 180. Overall it’s a good tour for us, we came back strongly in the ODIs.”

Morgan, who was also named Man of the Match, was pleased to have led England to victory, and said: “Throughout the whole game the guys held their nerve very well. We got to a good score and then the bowlers were exceptional. There’s little margin for error when Dhoni’s at the crease but they were great. The short ball suited the conditions. We felt the full ball was easy to hit. The wicket played pretty well, to get up to 180 was really good. I’ve gone through some tough times with the bat and come through them before but it was nice to get a get a few runs┬átoday.”

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