Pandya stuns England as India bounce back in first white-ball encounter

SOUTHAMPTON: Hardik Pandya soothed India after a crushing red-ball defeat, with his sensational all-round performance as the touring side beat England by 50 runs in the first T20I, here on Thursday.

All-rounder Pandya smashed a blistering half-century off 30 balls coupled with pivotal knocks played by Deepak Hooda and Suryakumar Yadav, enabling their side to reach a massive total of 198 in the first innings.

However, England’s chase fell short of expectations as six of their batters failed to get into double figures while Pandya maintained his sublime form and claimed four wickets to knock the hosts out on 148.

Opting to bat first after winning the toss, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma tried to compensate for his absence in the Edgbaston Test after testing Covid positive as he blasted quick 24 runs off 14 balls, hitting four boundaries before he was caught behind the stumps on Moeen Ali’s delivery in the third over.

Hooda and Yadav carried the momentum forward for the Blue Shirts as both the batters moved the scoreboard at an accelerating pace. Hooda scored 33 off 17 balls laced with three fours and two sixes while Yadav made 39 off 19 including four boundaries and three sixes.

Meanwhile, Pandya combined excellently with Yadav and Axar Patel to upset England’s bowling attack as he pushed the ball for six boundaries and a huge six during his scintillating knock of 51 off 33 balls.

On the other side, England’s skipper Jos Butler went back on a duck after being bowled out by Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the first over, forcing the hosts to get off to a poor start.

Pandya wreaked havoc on England in the fifth over dismissing stong-looking Dawid Malan on 21 followed by a cheap dismissal of Liam Livingstone on a duck in the same over. Jason Roy also fell cheaply on four by Pandy in the 7th over.

England were shattered by the tourists on 33/4 before rookie Harry Brook and left-hander Moeen Ali built a strong partnership of 61 runs. The side underwent another collapse in the 13th over as spinner Yuzendra Chahal removed the pair in the same over.

The rest of England’s batting line lacked vigor as it began to lose wickets at regular intervals and the side was eventually bowled out for 148 in the 20th over.

For India, Pandya starred with the bowl while Chahal and Arshdeep Singh grabbed two wickets each. Bhuvneshwar and Harshal Patel made one scalp apiece.

With the early win, India now have a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series against England with the second match scheduled on July 9 at Birmingham.

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