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Eoin Morgan fifty leads England to seven-wicket romp over India in first Twenty20

January 26, 2017 3:18 PM
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It has taken the best part of three months but England finally came up with what captain Eoin Morgan described as 'a complete performance' to make an emphatic start to their final challenge of a difficult tour.

The first of three Twenty20 internationals became a walk in Green Park for England as they bowled as well as at any time this winter and then chased down India's below par 147 for seven with ease.

And it followed a thrilling victory in the final one-day international in Kolkata which suggests England are finally getting to grips with life in India after the disappointments of their Test and one-day series defeats.

This was a triumph for Morgan who has slowly but surely reasserted himself here as the undisputed leader of both limited-overs sides after the uncertainty created by his controversial withdrawal from the tour of Bangladesh.

Morgan eased a lot of pressure on himself with his century in the second one-day international in Cuttack and then led England calmly and astutely in the closing stages of their nail-biting victory at Eden Gardens.

Now he again looked like the innovative stroke-maker who once set the standards for England before appearing to have been overtaken by the new breed and passed 1,500 runs in international Twenty20 cricket in the process.

And there was an exciting glimpse of the x-factor that Tymal Mills can bring as he bowled with both extreme pace, touching 93 miles per hour, and also skill in perfectly executed and well disguised back of the hand slower ball bouncers.

It was England's new-look attack that set up this victory as they dictated terms to India's formidable batting line-up so impressively that Morgan did not even have to turn to his recalled leg-spinner Adil Rashid.

Mills, the man whose fragile back only allows him to play Twenty20 cricket, took his first international wicket in his second match – Hardik Pandya slapping him to Sam Billings on the cover boundary - and conceded just 27 runs to impress his potential Indian Premier League suitors.

There was an impressive return, too, for Chris Jordan, who produced identical figures to his fellow Sussex bowler and was quick enough to hurry Lokesh Rahul to his demise on a Kanpur pitch with pace and carry.

Yet for all the talk of how the prolific Kohli would deal with the 90 mph plus Mills it was the 55 mph spin of Moeen Ali that led to the downfall of the India captain with the first ball of what became his best Twenty20 bowling display.

Kohli had been unable to get on top of England's pace bowlers and perhaps sub-consciously relaxed at the introduction of Moeen as he steered his first ball firmly straight at Morgan at wide mid-on to leave England well on top.

And when the unlikely specialist fielder in Rashid took an outstanding tumbling catch running in from long leg to send back Yuvraj Singh off Liam Plunkett England sensed that this was going to be their day.

India's first – and only – six of the innings did not come until the 13th over and local boy Suresh Raina was promptly bowled round his legs by Ben Stokes immediately after he had deposited him over long on.

Only a late flurry from MS Dhoni lifted India anywhere near respectability but England got off to the perfect start in reply when Billings smashed Jasprit Bumrah for 20 off the second over and Jason Roy got in on the act with two big sixes of his own.

But, as so often, England were checked by spin even though India rested the twin tormentors from the Test and one-day series in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

Instead leg-spin and googly bowler Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed both England openers in the same over to give India hope until Morgan calmed his side in a match-clinching partnership of 83 with the fit-again Joe Root.

Morgan, hailed as a 'world-class player in this form of the game,' by Kohli afterwards, was to fall immediately after he reached 50 but Root remained to finish unbeaten on 46 as England took the advantage in a short-form series that continues in Nagpur on Sunday and concludes in Bengaluru next Wednesday.

And it is the first time this winter the India captain has had to say that.


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