Pune: Man-of-the-Match Yuvraj Singh’s all-round performance helped India defeat England by five wickets in the first T20, at the Subrata Roy Sahara stadium here on Thursday.
Chasing 158 for a win, Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane took India off to a rousing start, putting 42 on board in a jiffy, with the latter taking the initiative by striking meaty sixes off Bresnan and Dernbach. Their whirlwind partnership was however brought to an end, after Gambhir was caught by Hales while trying to clear the deep square leg boundary. Rahane was lucky to be dropped by Meaker who grassed a sitter at short fine leg, but failed to make use of the life, using an ugly stroke to give Bresnan his second wicket. India 44/2.
Yuvraj Singh came in and struck some lusty blows, singling out Danny Briggs for special attention, smashing the left-arm spinner for two sixes and a four in over no.7. Yuvraj would go on to make 38, hitting a six before being caught by Meaker off Wright, while going for a big shot. Virat Kohli (21) with whom Yuvraj put together a 49-run stand, played well before dragging the ball onto the stumps.
Suresh Raina (26) and MS Dhoni (22) then took India closer to the target, before the former was run out by Eoin Morgan with 10 runs still left to get. The Indian skipper took the wicket in his stride, taking his side past the finish line, by bringing up the winning runs off Stuart Meaker.
Earlier, India won the toss and elected to field first. Ashok Dinda made the mistake of bowling short, and was promptly punished by Alex Hales, who pulled him for two fours to the midwicket fence. Ashwin negated the surge with a maiden, to bring debutant Parvinder Awana in, for his first international over. The 26-year old was baptized by fire, giving away 12 runs, with Hales offering him no sympathy. Michael Lumb fell leg-before-wicket to Ashwin, as India picked up their first wicket.
Hales looked hale and hearty at the crease, using his feet and the long handle to put the ball away. Luke Wright was also keen to match his partner, and he chose to take on Piyush Chawla. Dhoni then brought in part-timers Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh. The former missed a run-out chance after failing to get behind the stumps for the throw from R.Ashwin. Soon, England were crusing at 89/1 after 10 overs.
Yuvraj Singh provided the breakthrough after Luke Wright came down to hit the ball straight into Ajinkya Rahane’s hands at long off. India did a good job of bottling up the batsmen, and it wasn’t long before Alex Hales lost his middle stump to Yuvraj. One ball later, Eoin Morgan played away from his body, hitting in the air, only to give Rahane his second catch of the match. Yuvraj was India’s best bowler finishing with figures of 3/19.
With two new batsmen at the crease, India decided to slow things down, and brought the match back on their terms. Ashwin however came up with a poor over, conceding 15 runs, as England moved closer to the 140-run mark after 17 overs. Dhoni then brought back Dinda, who sent back Samit Patel and Tim Bresnan. Awana was brought back for the final over, only to discover that his torrid run would continue, as he gave away 17 runs, with Buttler striking two sixes, as England recovered to post 157/6.
The second T20 will be held at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on December 22nd.