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All-round Hardik stars in India’s comfortable win

Hardik Pandya put on a stellar show on Thursday (July 7) to give India an early lead in the three-match T20I series against England. Hardik first hit a fifty to help India post almost 200 on the board in the first T20I in Southampton before picking up four wickets to dent the hosts in the chase as the visitors won comfortably in the end by 50 runs.

India make the powerplay count

India’s biggest impact with both bat and ball came in the most crucial stage of the innings. With the bat, they made 66 runs in the powerplay with their top 4 making almost every delivery count. And with the ball, India managed to reduce England to 32/3 in the first six overs to set the game up. Rohit Sharma, returning to the XI, made an instant impact as he found the boundary five times inside the first three overs. Moeen Ali got his revenge by finding the outside edge with an arm ball but India’s assault didn’t stop with Rohit’s wicket. Deepak Hooda, fresh from his century against Ireland took off immediately and smashed Moeen for back-to-back sixes and even though the offspinner got rid of Ishan Kishan in the same over, India remained in control.

Did they slow down in the middle overs?

Not at all. It appeared like India made a conscious effort to not slow down between overs 7-15. The second ball after the powerplay got over was whipped over fine leg for a six by Suryakumar Yadav and he smashed Matthew Parkinson for two more boundaries in the following over. The onslaught continued as India raced to 105/3 at the halfway mark despite losing Hooda. Hardik wasted little time to get going as well as India continued to hammer the bowling attack all over the ground. The visitors held Dinesh Karthik back and sent Axar Patel ahead of him at number six but still managed to bring up 150 by the end of the 14th over.

How did India post only 198 then?

England fought back pretty hard at the death. India were primed to touch 220 at one stage with Karthik yet to come out but England pulled things back. Axar couldn’t take off and fell for a 12-ball 17 whereas Hardik also found himself back in the pavilion immediately after getting to his fifty. An excellent penultimate over from Chris Jordan heaped more pressure on Karthik and even though he put away the first two deliveries of the final over for boundaries, Tymal Mills came back strong as India ended up scoring only 48 runs in the final six overs.

Were England ever in with a chance?

The moment Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave India a dream start by castling Jos Buttler for a golden duck in the opening over, England were always going to have their task cut out considering they were not at full strength. Debutant Arshdeep Singh also found swing at the start as India didn’t allow England to get away. Hardik was introduced early and made life difficult for the visitors as Dawid Malan first inside-edged one onto his stumps before Liam Livingstone failed in his attempt to scoop a delivery and only got a glove through to the keeper. The procession continued as Hardik added two more wickets to his tally before Yuzvendra Chahal also managed to open his account. None of the English batters except for Moeen to an extent put up a fight as Arshdeep capped off a brilliant debut with a couple of wickets right at the death to complete the formalities and give India a facile win.

Brief scores: India 198/8 in 20 overs (Hardik Pandya 51, Suryakumar Yadav 39; Chris Jordan 2/23) beat England148 in 19.3 overs (Moeen Ali 36; Hardik Pandya 4/33) by 50 runs

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