Manchester: Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav’s (5/24) magical spell of wrist spin was complemented by KL Rahul’s (101 n o, 54b, 10×4, 5×6) dazzling strokeplay as India started their tour of England on a resounding note, winning the opening T20 international by eight wickets at the Old Trafford here, Tuesday evening.
Young Kuldeep restricted England to below-par 159 for eight on a flat deck. Then it was the turn of opener Rahul, who smashed his second T20 hundred as India comfortably chased the target in 18.2 overs. Rahul added 123 runs for the second wicket with Rohit Sharma (32, 30b, 3×4, 1×6) after the early loss of Shikhar Dhawan (4) to put India in the driver’s seat.
Indian captain Virat Kohli (20 n o, 22b, 1×6) finished the match with a six off Moeen Ali to remain unbeaten on 20. In the process, he became the quickest to the 2,000-run mark in T20I (see graphics).
Earlier, Kuldeep left the English batsmen in a daze with his magical spell of wrist spin. Kohli’s decision to bowl was vindicated by young Kuldeep, who broke the backbone of the England batting with his career-best figures and a maiden five-wicket haul.
This was after a solid start provided by in-form openers Jos Buttler (69, 46b, 8×4, 2×6) and Jason Roy (30, 20b, 5×4), who added 50 in the first five overs of power play.
However from a relatively comfortable 95 for one in the 12th over, Kuldeep removed rival skipper Eoin Morgan (7), Jonny Bairstow (0) and Joe Root (0) in the 14th over, to completely turned things around for India. MS Dhoni, should also be praised for his lightning glovework to stump Root. In spite of an awkward bounce, with the ball thudding on to his helmet grill, Dhoni reacted quickly to gather the ball and whip off the bails in a flash with Root yet to make his ground.
Root and Bairstow haven’t seen much of Kuldeep as he was not a part of the last Test series against England in India and these two batsmen don’t play IPL. It was evident as they didn’t have a clue as to which way the ball would turn. Kuldeep bowled 14 dot balls.
Brief scores: England 159 for 8 (Jos Buttler 69, David Willey 29 n o, Kuldeep Yadav 5/24, Umesh Yadav 2/21) lost to India 163 for 2 in 18.2 overs (KL Rahul 101 n o) by eight wickets.
New world record
Virat Kohli became the fastest to score 2,000 runs in T20 Internationals during his unbeaten innings of 20 against England at Old Trafford. Incidentally, he is the second Indian to achieve the distinction, the first being Mithali Raj. The Indian skipper beat the earlier record, reaching the landmark in 60 matches, of Kiwi Brendon McCullum who had achieved the mark in 66 innings. Overall four batsmen have completed 2,000 runs in T20I.