England take lead in T20 series against India

January 27, 2017

England secured a comprehensive seven wicket victory over India in the first T20 international of the three-match series.

After winning the toss in Kanpur and opting to bowl, the tourists produced an outstanding bowling performance to prevent India's batsmen cutting loose. Time and again the big Republic Day holiday crowd was silenced as a steady stream of wickets saw the home side stumble, with nobody making more than MS Dhoni's 36 not out and the final total of 147-7 falling well below par.

The key wicket of Virat Kohli fell to Moeen Ali when India's captain and star batsman chipped the off-spinner to midwicket. Moeen also claimed the wicket of Manish Pandey and finished with 2-21 from his four overs.

With fine seam bowling from the pacey Tymal Mills, backed up by Ben Stokes, Liam Plunkett and Chris Jordan, England did not even need to bring on legspinner Adil Rashid. Among the features of the English bowling was the clever use of slower balls by the pacemen, and Kohli was left admitting that his side was well short of the 170-175 he felt his side needed to be competitive.

India's own wrist-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal gave the home side brief hope after Jason Roy and Sam Billings had put on a rapid opening stand of 42. He bowled both batsmen and forced England to rebuild through Joe Root and captain Eoin Morgan.

However, an England side playing their first T20 on Indian soil since losing the ICC World Twenty20 final last year showed the mettle to take control once more. Morgan played an excellent hand to make 51, while Root saw England home with an unbeaten 46, the first time on the tour he had not reached 50 in a match.

Fans booking corporate hospitality for England's Champions Trophy matches at Edgbaston in the summer will continue to be excited with the way the side's limited overs cricket has developed over the past year.

Speaking on the BBC Tuffers and Vaughan show, former England captain Michael Vaughan said: "This is England's best ever one-day group. Graham Gooch would get into this side no question, so too Kevin Pietersen, Darren Gough and Andrew Flintoff. But, as a whole, it is our best side in my opinion."

Speaking from India, Morgan agreed, saying: "That's a huge compliment. It's certainly the best white-ball team I've been a part of."

Although they lost the 50-over series 2-1, England still made over 300 with the bat every time in alien conditions. India's batsmen - and those of other visiting teams - will find the challenge of English wickets in June tougher next summer, although India did win the previous Champions Trophy played in England in 2013, beating the hosts by five runs in the final at Edgbaston.

That was one of two previous Champions Trophy finals in England where the home side narrowly failed to secure a maiden global 50-over trophy. The other was in 2004, when the West Indies won the final by two wickets in bad light against a side captained by Vaughan.

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