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India vs England first T20I: Hero Hardik Stole the Show

India defeated England by 50 runs in Southampton on Thursday thanks in large part to the efforts of Hardik Pandya, who scored his first fifty in a T20 international and claimed four wickets to own the player of the match award.

Pandya scored 50 runs out of 30 balls in the first game of the three-match series as India scored a total of 198-8. Prior to being bowled out by Matt Parkinson, Pandya struck six fours and one magnificent six.

Pandya’s pyrotechnics were released after some flashy strokes by Suryakumar Yadav (39), and Deepak Hooda (33) set the mood.

India vs England first T20I: Hero Hardik Stole the Show | Fantasy Cricket League
Hardik Pandya while training | Fantasy Cricket league

The host could only muster 148 runs in their feeble attempt to chase down the run total, as Pandya troubled team England with the ball also, taking 4-33 from his four overs.

Arshdeep Singh, a newcomer in the T20 format, after waiting on the bench for seven straight games, took his first international wicket (2/18) in 3.3 overs. He has shown great control over his line and length partnering with Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the powerplay. The 23-year-old has given 13 dot balls out of 21 deliveries and claimed a place for himself in the team over Umran Malik and Avesh Khan.

Indian skipper Rohit Sharma, who is again back in the line-up following his recovery from Covid 19, decided to bat first and scored 24 runs in 14 balls including 5 boundaries. The attack at the beginning was somewhat a reply to the hosts for their shocking Test win earlier this week. The highest Test run chase in English history was led by Ben Stokes as they thrashed India by seven wickets in the 5th Test.

Jos Butler took over as England’s limited over captain for the first time since succeeding Eoin Morgan while the Test team was enjoying a well-deserved vacation. As the team is preparing for World Cup in October this year, Butler insisted that England should be “aggressive and not afraid of failure” by modeling the approaches of Stokes and McCullum in the previous victories. But unlike all the expectations of the team and fans, Butler was struck by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and was out for a golden duck.

Liam Livingstone was also dismissed on duck by Hardik Pandya. Despite 4 boundaries in his 21 from 14 balls, Dawid Malan was bowled by Pandya. Jason Roy has only made 4 runs out of 16 balls before India’s swing bowling proved to be too much for England.

Moeen Ali(36) and Harry Brook(28) were the only players who smashed boundaries to restore England’s hope. But Yuzvendra Chahal takes out both batsmen to put the team under pressure and England was dismissed for 148 in 19.3 overs while chasing a goal of 199.

Wicket-keeper batter Sanju Samson missed out his place in the XI as India decided to go with Ishan Kishan while the skipper Rohit Sharma returned in the first T20I. Rohit Sharma’s return will surely improve India’s batting line-up in the coming matches, especially because K. L. Rahul is injured and Virat Kohli is likely to be rested. Rohit Sharma also talked about the bench strength of team India at the toss. Even though there is a change in the side, Team India is expecting another win in the second T20I at Edgbaston on July 9th, to crown the series.

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