Kuldeep, KL Rahul thump England at Old Trafford

Brief scores:
England 159/8 (20)
Jos Buttler 69 (46)
Jason Roy 30 (20)
Kuldeep Yadav 5/24
Umesh Yadav 2/21

India 163/2 (18.2)
KL Rahul 101* (54)
Rohit Sharma 32 (30)
Adil Rashid 1/25
David Willey 1/30

Kuldeep Yadav’s five-wicket haul and KL Rahul’s unbeaten 101-run blitzkrieg enabled India to a massive 8 wicket in the first T20I at Manchester against England.

Team India skipper Virat Kohli’s luck finally shone on him after losing two straight tosses in Ireland when he called it right at Old Trafford and opted to chase. India were playing with both Rahul and Raina. England skipper Eoin Morgan fielded the same XI which got the better of Australia in their last T20I.

Jason Roy and Jos Buttler, England’s new opening pair, gave them a flying start with absolutely no swing for India’s pace bowling pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav early on. The duo belted 28 runs in the first three overs before Buttler went after Chahal, hitting him for 16 runs.

England’s blazing opening stand finally came to an end when Umesh Yadav went through Jason Roy’s (30) defences. By then, England had raced to 50 from the first five overs. Virat Kohli then brought Hardik Pandya on who mixed his pace and curtailed the flow of runs, conceding only 10 runs from his first two overs. Chahal kept it tight as well after an expensive start with Kuldeep Yadav adding pressure from the other end.

India’s next five overs only conceded 27 overs before Jos Buttler got after Hardik Pandya and brought England’s innings back on track. But what followed next stunned the home side. Kuldeep Yadav in the next over brought an end to Alex Hales’ (8) struggle first and went on to dismiss Jonny Bairstow (0) and Joe Root (0) in successive deliveries. The home side had suddenly reduced to 107/5 in the 14th over, seeming clueless to Kuldeep’s traditional wrist spin.

Hardik Pandya also joined the party, removing Moeen Ali (6) in his last over. Jos Buttler ran out of partners and patience to become Kuldeep Yadav’s fifth victim, helping him become the first left-arm wrist spinner to pick up a 5-wicket haul in T20Is.

But despite this, England managed to reach 159/8 at the end of their full quota thanks to a quickfire 15-ball 29-run cameo from David Willey.

Chasing 160 for a victory, India’s innings began with a first-ball boundary from Dhawan before Willey got rid of him in the first over. KL Rahul walked out at number three and cleared his intentions pretty early, lifting Jordan for a six over covers with finesse.

Rahul became the aggressor with Rohit settling as the duo helped India move past the 50-run mark in the 6th over. Rohit got going after two boundaries to Jordan with Rahul also in no mood to rest. The Karnataka batsman reached his fifty and stepped on the gas from there on.

Cover drives, flicks, on drives and what not. KL Rahul was hitting Eoin Morgan’s bowlers to all parts of the ground. Liam Plunkett faced his wrath, conceding 20 runs in over to tilt the game in India’s favour. All this while, Rohit was playing second fiddle to KL Rahul who was, by then, batting in his 80s.

Rohit’s stay at the crease came to an end when he tried to loft Adil Rashid over the inner circle but hit it straight to Morgan. Virat Kohli joined forces with KL Rahul with the duo taking control of the situation.

Rahul's rush had settled and he was now dealing in singles, keeping the scoreboard ticking along with the Indian skipper. He became the second Indian after Rohit Sharma to score two T20I tons when he took a single off David Willey in the 18th over before Virat Kohli finished the game with a six over long on. The visitors hunted the target with 8 wickets in hand and 10 balls to spare.

India face England in the second T20I on June 6.



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