All-Round Hardik Pandya Powers India To 1-0 Lead In Southampton


India beat England by 50 runs to take 1-0 lead in the three-match series courtesy superb all-round show from Hardik Pandya. The India all-rounder first batted superbly to score 51 in just 33 balls and then returned to wreak havoc on England with the ball, picking up four wickets.

England came out to chase 199, but had a horrendous start as they went onto lose the wicket of Jos Buttler for a duck. Debutante Arshdeep Singh then produced a masterclass as he swung the ball both ways which was detrimental to Jason Roy’s rhythm. Later he became desperate to play a big shot which lead to his downfall.

It was Pandya who managed to pick the crucial wickets of Liam Livingstone and Jason Roy in the same over to rattle England’s chase. He would finish with the figures of 33/4.

Meanwhile, Moeen Ali hit back for the hosts with a counter-attacking knock of 36 off 20 and with Harry Brook (28 off 23) as the duo tried to push India onto the back-foot before Yuzvendra Chahal got rid of him. Nevertheless, India were really poor on the field as they went onto drop as many as five catches which could have been costly.

Earlier Hardik Pandya led India’s aggressive batting display with a blistering 33-ball 51 as the visitors posted a challenging 198 for eight against England in the first T20 International here on Thursday.

This was Hardik’s first T20I half-century, helping India score at a brisk pace in the middle overs after Rohit Sharma (24 off 14 balls), Deepak Hooda (33 0ff 17) and Suryakumar Yadav (39 off 19) set it up with their enterprising knocks.

Motoring along at 178 for five at the end of 17th over, India, however, failed to finish their innings with a flourish on a belter of a pitch.

Seeking to make up for the lost time after missing the fifth Test against England owing to COVID-19, Rohit got India off to a brisk start.

First up, Rohit charged down the track to smash Sam Curran towards mid-off and while a diving Chris Jordan got a hand to it, the ball was hit too hard and all the fielder could do was deflect it to the fence.

Reece Topley strayed down the leg and Rohit whipped it off his pads for his second boundary. That was followed by another four as the India captain played it through point, forcing his English counterpart Jos Buttler to introduce spin as early as the third over.

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