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England v India: England lose first T20 of Jos Buttler’s captaincy by 50 runs

First Twenty20, Ageas Bowl
India 198-8 (20 overs) Pandya 51 (33), Suryakumar 39 (19); Jordan 2-23; Moeen 2-26
England 148 (19.3 overs) Moeen 36 (20); Hardik 4-33
India win by 50 runs

England lost their first match under new white-ball captain Jos Buttler as Hardik Pandya inspired India to a dominant 50-run victory in the first Twenty20 at the Ageas Bowl.

After his side were set a challenging target of 199, Buttler was out for a first-ball duck, bowled by a Bhuvneshwar Kumar inswinger.

Hardik then removed Dawid Malan for 21, Liam Livingstone for another duck and Jason Roy for a tortured four from 16 balls, all in his first seven deliveries.

England were 33-4 after 6.1 overs and could not recover as they were bowled out in the final over for 148.

All-rounder Hardik finished with 4-33 to add to his 51 from 33 balls – the highest score in India’s 198-8.

The tourists had looked on course for a total well in excess of 200 only to be pegged back by good death bowling, Chris Jordan the pick of England’s attack with 2-23.

Yet India’s impressive performance with the ball ensured they took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, their white-ball side hitting back after England’s stunning Test victory on Tuesday.

Buttler’s outfit can level the series with victory in the second match at Edgbaston on Saturday before the finale 24 hours later at Trent Bridge.

Tough start for Buttler’s England

These sides were back in action just two days after England’s sensational win at Edgbaston, the hosts riding a wave of momentum created by their Test performances under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum.

But these are two entirely different squads and England, without the likes of Jonny Bairstow because of the quick turnaround, could not repeat their red-ball heroics at the start of another new era.

These games are significant, not least since they are England’s first since the retirement of World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan, but also because it is just three months until the T20 World Cup in Australia where both sides be among the favourites.

At halfway, India’s total looked no more than par, though it proved well beyond England.

The opening two overs of England’s chase set the tone, Bhuvneshwar and debutant Arshdeep Singh finding lavish swing to the delight of a vibrant, predominately India-supporting crowd.

Buttler, the form batter in the world in this format, was bowled by a brilliant delivery which hooped in, cut back off the pitch and flicked pad before going onto the stumps.

It was a sorry start to his tenure but the topsy-turvy nature of T20s means he will believe his side can strike back immediately.

England’s top order struggle

Buttler’s dismissal was backed up brilliantly by Arshdeep, whose first over in international cricket was a maiden.

Just as number three Malan began to find his feet by moving to 21 with a fourth boundary, he played onto his stumps off Hardik when trying to run the ball through gully.

Livingstone followed just three balls later, gloving a scoop off Hardik to the keeper, and Roy’s pain was ended when he sliced an attempted drive to the first ball of the all-rounder’s next over into the hands of third man.

Moeen Ali and Harry Brook gave England slight hope, both surviving dropped chances in a stand of 61. However, they fell in the same over trying to attack leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal to all but end England’s hopes.

That left England 100-6 and the hosts were seven down an over later when Hardik claimed his fourth – Sam Curran top-edging a hook.

Arshdeep took the final two wickets of Reece Topley and Matt Parkinson, his first scalps for India and a reward for his fine opening spell.

Bowler’s fightback in vain

England’s bowling depth is being tested more than their batting by injury and the intense schedule, fast bowlers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood two significant absentees.

After a fast start, India captain Rohit Sharma was caught behind for 24 off spinner Moeen Ali, who also had Ishan Kishan caught off a top-edged sweep for eight.

England’s attack included three left-arm seamers – Tymal Mills, Sam Curran and Reece Topley – and they were all punished by Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik.

But the England bowlers came back well. When India were 141-4 after 13 overs a score of 220 looked possible.

Jordan used the short ball effectively, bowling bouncers to dismiss Deepak Hooda for 33 and Suryakumar for 39, while Hardik’s innings was ended by another short ball from Topley that was hit to deep point.

Topley, Jordan and Mills conceded only 20 runs in the last three overs but it proved to be in vain.

‘We’ve been outplayed’ – reaction

England captain Jos Buttler, speaking to Sky Sports: “We’ve been outplayed. India bowled fantastically well and we couldn’t get back in the game from that point.

“The ball swung for as long as I can remember in a T20 match. We needed to hit it into the stands to stop it swinging. But credit to India I thought they were fantastic.”

India captain Rohit Sharma, speaking to Sky Sports: “A great performance from ball one. The pitch was good so you could back yourself. At no point did we think we are trying to take the game ahead of ourselves. We back our basics of the game very well.

“Hardik prepared himself wonderfully from the IPL. His bowling is something he wanted to do more of. He came in, bowled quick, and got rewards for his variation.”

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