ENG vs IND: 1st T20I, Review- Kuldeep and Rahul decimate England in the curtain raiser

ENG vs IND: 1st T20I, Review- Kuldeep and Rahul decimate England in the curtain raiser

The visitors roared to victory with 8 wickets and 10 balls to spare.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav of India celebrates. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Both England and India came into the match on the back of some thumping victories. The Brits pummeled Australia while the Men in Blue steamrolled Ireland in Malahide to commence their tour of the United Kingdom (UK) on a grand note. The teams had a few injury eliminations, but they managed to find their appropriate replacements, much to their relief.

Old Trafford was a witness to the last match of England’s ODI series versus the Aussies and the first T20I was speculated to be a crackerjack. At the halfway mark, the contest was poised to be a nail-biter. However, after Kuldeep Yadav wreaked havoc, KL Rahul came into his own to make a mockery of the English bowling armoury to help India emerge triumphant by eight wickets with ten balls to spare.

Kuldeep runs through Morgan’s men

Virat Kohli won the toss and had no double thoughts about bowling first. Jason Roy and Jos Buttler went berserk from the outset and spanked India’s opening bowlers, especially Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Yuzvendra Chahal was introduced in the fourth over and was carted away for 16 runs. Umesh Yadav struck first blood for the Blue Army as he rattled Roy’s woodwork. He scored 30 runs in 20 balls.

Alex Hales was next in and he strained to manoeuvre the field. In his first 12 balls, he crawled to four runs. At the other end, Buttler was innovative but took calculative risks. Kuldeep Yadav was handed the leather in the 10th over and he conceded five after being whipped for a boundary by Buttler on his first ball. From 50 in five overs, the bowlers curbed the batsmen and the hosts finished with 77 in 10 overs.

In the 11th over, Buttler accomplished his fifty in 29 balls courtesy of a stupendous blow over square leg off Hardik Pandya, who went for 18 runs in his third over. Hales’ 18-ball eight runs misery ended when Kuldeep castled him when the right-hander went for a sweep. Eoin Morgan attempted an ambitious stroke and present the chinaman with his second wicket. Kuldeep didn’t stop there.

He bamboozled Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root on consecutive balls to set the cat among the pigeons in the opposition camp. More importantly, Buttler was running out of partners. Pandya got rid of Moeen Ali in the 16th over. Bhuvneshwar leaked 20 runs in the 17th over, but the Chinaman nipped out Buttler to pick up a five-wicket haul. Eventually, it was David Willey’s cameo of 29 runs that lifted the Poms to 159.

Rahul manhandles England’s bowling

The run-chase didn’t start on an auspicious note for Kohli’s men as David Willey’s outswinger knocked out Shikhar Dhawan’s stumps. KL Rahul, who was pushed down to number three from the last match, played some scintillating strokes and injected momentum into the Indian innings. Rohit Sharma found it tough initially but found his rhythm with a couple of boundaries off Chris Jordan in the fifth over.

Adil Rashid and Moeen, who were outstanding in the last few matches, took the mantle to break the Rohit-Rahul partnership, but the duo creamed them without much fuss. Rahul eventually accomplished his fifth fifty in T20Is in 27 balls. KL kept the assault going and cleared the boundary ropes at will. He upped his scoring rate in the eleventh over and plundered 20 runs off Liam Plunkett.

He brought the target down to 37 from 54 balls, which made his team the clear favourites. The onslaught also took the sting out of the English attack and they ducked for cover. The stand of 123 runs from 71 balls was broken by Rashid with the scalp of Rohit, who meandered along to 32 runs at a tad over a run-a-ball. Virat Kohli joined the 26-year old in the middle and just rotated the strike.

In the end, the Indian skipper turned over the strike in order for Rahul to complete his century. He steered the ball down to fine leg to reach 98 and he stormed to his second T20I century in 53 balls, a knock carved with 10 boundaries and five colossal whacks into the stands. Kohli clobbered Moeen over long on to bring down the curtains on the match.

Brief Scores

England: 159/8 in 20 overs; (Jos Buttler 69, Jason Roy 30; Kuldeep Yadav 5/24, Umesh Yadav 2/21)

India: 163/2 in 18.2 overs; (KL Rahul 101, Rohit Sharma 32; Adil Rashid 1/25, David Willey 1/31)

India beat England by 8 wickets

Player of the Match: Kuldeep Yadav