Southampton : A smashing half-century from all-rounder Hardik Pandya (51 off 33 balls) backed up by his superb bowling efforts (4/33 in 4 overs) gave India a huge 50-run win against the Jos Buttler-led England in the opening T20 International a day-night game at The Rose Bowl here late on Thursday.
Pandya carried his sublime form from the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the recently-concluded series against Ireland into the game against England, guiding the visitors to a massive 198/8 in 20 overs, before returning to bowl a fiery spell that saw the hosts bundled out for 148 in 19.3 overs.
Pandya picked up where the top order left off, joining Suryakumar Yadav (39 off 19) in the blitz, keeping the run rate above 10-an-over in the crucial middle phase.
The side have now won 14 of the last 17 T20Is since the tournament, with a no result against South Africa in Bengaluru meaning the side has lost just twice in the same stretch.
Pandya then returned with the ball to account for the dangerous opener Jason Roy (4), Dawid Malan (21), (Liam Livingstone 0) and Sam Curran (4) as England under new captain Buttler found the going tough from the start of their innings.
With Pandya giving such a commanding performance, and players like Deepak Hooda too contributing in a big way, it bodes well for the team as it prepares for the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
Deepak Hooda’s 33 (17) shows his form in Ireland was no flash in the pan, with the Dinesh Karthik career renaissance providing the side with another finisher at the side’s disposal.
On the bowling side, Yuzvendra Chahal continues to look imposing. Claiming Harry Brook (28 off 23) and Moeen Ali (36 off 20), the leg-spinner curtailed any chance of an English fight back.
As his red-ball compatriots ride the wave of a successful start under Brendon McCullum, it wasn’t to be for Buttler as the new T20I white-ball captain fell to the defeat and fell for a first-ball duck in the chase.
The right-hander was set up by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with the swing bowler’s first four deliveries moving away from Jason Roy, only for Buttler’s first to hoop in and dismantle the stumps.
Earlier, Buttler deployed seven bowlers, with Chris Jordan (2/23 from four overs) the only to provide any pushback to India’s charges.
Brief scores: India 198/8 in 20 overs (Deepak Hooda 33, Suryakumar Yadav 39, Hardik Pandya 51) beat England 148 in 19.3 overs (Moeen Ali 36; Hardik Pandya 4/33, Yuzvendra Chahal 2/32, Arshdeep Singh 2/18) by 50 runs.