England vs India 1st T20: Kuldeep, Rahul lead India to comfortable win

Kuldeep Yadav five wickets England India 1st T20 Manchester cricket

Kuldeep Yadav was named Man of the Match for his career-best figures of 5-24

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

India spinner Kuldeep Yadav took a career-best five-wicket haul and batsman Lokesh Rahul hammered an unbeaten 101 to help their side cruise to an eight-wicket win over England in the first Twenty20 International in Manchester.

Being put in to bat first, England made a great start to their innings as Jason Roy and Jos Buttler put together a 50-run partnership in under five overs.

However, on the final ball of the fifth over, Roy was clean bowled by Umesh Yadav for a 20-ball 30.

Buttler began to up the ante after Roy’s dismissal and dominated the 45-run stand he forged with Alex Hales.

Hales only scored eight runs before he was cleaned up by Kuldeep.

In his next over, Kuldeep took three wickets as he dismissed England captain Eoin Morgan, along with Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root in successive deliveries.

Hardik Pandya joined the party as he removed Moeen Ali, but it was Kuldeep’s day to shine as even though he missed out on a hat-trick, he completed his first-ever five-wicket haul in the shortest format when he removed Buttler for 69, which came off 46 balls and included eight boundaries and two sixes.

Jos Buttler 69 England India 1st T20 Manchester cricket

Jos Buttler’s seventh half-century went in vain

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

With David Willey smashing an unbeaten 29 off 15 deliveries, England finished on 159/8 off their 20 overs.

Kuldeep was easily the pick of the bowlers with five wickets, while Yadav took two and Pandya chipped in with one.

Chasing 160 to win, India got off to a disappointing start as opener Shikhar Dhawan was clean bowled by Willey for four runs on the fifth ball of the innings.

Rahul and Rohit Sharma made up for the loss of Dhawan with a 123-run partnership, during which Rahul raced past his fifty and was nearing his hundred.

Rohit ended up making 32 before he was caught by Morgan at extra cover off the bowling of Adil Rashid.

Despite the loss of Rohit, Rahul and India skipper Virat Kohli finished things off and led their side to victory with 10 balls to spare.

Rahul finished on 101 off 54 balls, which included 10 boundaries and five sixes, while Kohli remained undefeated on 20 off 22 deliveries, which included a six.

Lokesh Rahul 101 not out England India 1st T20 Manchester cricket

Lokesh Rahul celebrates after scoring his second century in the shortest format

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Willey and Rashid claimed one wicket each.

Morgan was disappointed to have lost, and said: “Thouroughly deserved for India. The conditions were pretty good. They fought back really well. Taking three wickets in an over really set us back. Probably cost us 30-40 runs. [Kuldeep]’s a very good bowler, he’s obviously going to be a big threat. Everything seemed to happen very quickly. Something we’ll assess between games.

“When the wicket is that good, you’ve got to take positive options. When the boundary is short and the wind is blowing into it, we’ve got to do better. If we’d taken the half chance, we’d have been in the game. I think today was a game of margins for our spinners. KL chipped one over the boundary and Jordan couldn’t take it. If he had, that might have put the pressure on them.”

Kohli was thrilled to have won, and said: “I think just looking at all three skillsets, it gave me a lot of pleasure to watch how we did. We wanted to try out new guys, that’s why KL went 3 and I went 4. To bring the game back from their flier was all because of Kuldeep’s one over. He is a wrist-spinner, he’s going to be effective on any surface. When you have variations to turn it away from you or into you, his wrong’un hasn’t been easy to pick so far. I hope he can work on that skill and keep the batsmen guessing.

“I felt that we very quite lucky and got away with England getting 30-40 runs short. It was always going to be in our favour after that. Unbelievable innings. He’s come a long way – so clean and so crisp. We want guys like him to step up to make the batting even stronger so we have flexibility for the others. He’s got a great shape, great technique, great temperament. He’s very hungry. Today was emotional: his last hundred was against England in Chennai in a Test.

“We haven’t changed much. I dropped to 4, one spot. It allows me to control the middle. To have KL to play freely in the Powerplay knowing there are seniors in the middle, that’s the kind of freedom we want to give these guys.”

Kuldeep was named Man of the Match, and said: “My first tour in England, things are going very well. Perfect conditions. It felt like home conditions. The wicket was dry, good to bat on. When I bowled my first over, I felt like it would turn. It’s important if you’re bowling the wrong’un, it should be in the perfect area. We’ve got two legends (Virat and MS) and they’re very supportive. It’s just the start of my first tour in England. Hopefully in the next match we’ll do the same thing.”

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