By BV Swagath
Some superb death bowling from the English pace trio Finn, Gunrey and Woakes helped the hosts to clinch a narrow 3-run win over India in the one-off T20I at Birmingham. Skipper MS Dhoni took the onus on himself as India needed 17 runs from the final over. Refusing singles, Dhoni farmed the strike and managed to hit a six and a four to keep his team in the chase but found it tough to score a six off the final ball from Chris Woakes.
Early on, India looked good to chase down 181 as Virat Kohli scored a splendid 66 from 41 balls. Shikhar Dhawan with 33 from 28 balls and Suresh Raina with 25 from 20 balls supported Kohli but all the three players couldn’t last long to guide India through. Eventually it was MS Dhoni (27* from 18 balls) left all on his own with AT Rayudu to do the impossible against some fast short balls and yorkers in the final overs.
England innings: England have piled up a huge total of 180 for 7 with Skipper Eoin Morgan blasting his way to 71 from just 31 balls. Morgan’s 6th T20I fifty contained 3 fours and as many as 7 sixes. The pitch looks very good for batting with the ball coming on to the bat and the outfield very quick.
The hosts weren’t doing really good except for four overs that were taken apart in excess of 17 runs each. The very first over of the match from R Ashwin went for 15 runs but the Indians pulled things back taking two early wickets. Alex Hales laid the foundation with 40 from 25 balls. The middle overs saw the pressure mounting on England with Joe Root consuming 29 balls for his 26 while the Indian spinners curtailed the scoring rate until Morgan got into the act. Ravi Bopara played his part with an unbeaten 21 from 9 balls.
For India, Leg-spinner Karn Sharma but for his final over looked impressive for his 1 for 28 in 4 overs. Shami also looked good until his final over which went for 15. He picked three wickets for 38 in his 4 overs. India’s fielding was exception barring a simple skier put down by Ashwin early on. Rahane was absolutely brilliant with his catch.
Toss and Teams: England led by Eoin Morgan have won the toss and chose to bat first in the one-off T20I at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Jason Roy, an aggressive batsman will be making his England debut today while leg-spinner Karn Sharma gets his first ever game for India.
England: Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (C), Jos Buttler (WK), Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara, Chris Woakes, Steven Finn, James Tredwell and Harry Gunrey
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, AT Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C & WK), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Karn Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Mohit Sharma