Skipper Rohit Sharma was impressed with Pandya’s all-round performance in India’s thumping 50-run win over England in first T20I; visitors will look to seal series at Edgbaston today
Hardik Pandya celebrates the wicket of England’s Liam Livingstone during the first T20I on Thursday. Pic/AFP
India’s victory in the first T20I against England was the perfect balm they required after their comprehensive defeat in the fifth and final Test at Edgabston just a couple of days earlier. The return of regular captain Rohit Sharma and the assured manner in which he handled things on the field ensured that India never allowed the home team into the game, thus handing Jos Buttler a defeat in his first outing as England skipper.
“It was a great performance from Ball One. There was intent shown from all the batters although the pitch was really good, so we could back our shots. At no point did we feel we were getting ahead of ourselves. We played cricketing shots and that helped us put up a challenging total. Our seamers bowled really well and got a lot of swing to provide us with early breakthroughs. There on, we managed to keep up the pressure,” Rohit said after the win.
The winning start augurs well for the Men in Blue as when they return to Edgbaston for the second T20I today, they will be looking to seal the three-match series at the very venue where their hopes of claiming the Test series were dashed.
After the impressive win at Ageas Bowl, India will have the services of five experienced players who were part of the Test team. It will be interesting to see who the team management will exclude to bring in the likes of Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant.
The two obvious changes are Pant for Ishan Kishan and Jadeja for Axar Patel. The most heartening aspect of India’s performance here was the manner in which the three Indian seamers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, debutant Arshdeep Singh and Hardik Pandya bowled after India set England a target of 199.
Bhuvneshwar swung the ball alarmingly and cleaned up Buttler with a banana in-swing to hand the captain a first-ball duck. At the other end, Arshdeep proved a perfect foil with his nagging line and length that tied up the free-scoring English batsmen. And it was Pandya who did the maximum damage as he produced his best T20I figures after a stunning half-century to prop up the Indian innings.
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Praising the all-rounder, Rohit said: “The way he [Hardik] has prepared himself right from the IPL till now has been wonderful. What I was impressed with was his bowling. He wanted to do a lot more of it, and he bowled quick, used variations, and got rewards too. Not to forget his batting too, which came at the right time for the team. It was a really impressive all-round performance from him.”
It was almost a complete team performance in which India ticked most of the boxes, barring their catching. They dropped as many as four catches, of which wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik was the culprit on two occasions.
“We were sloppy on the field. Those catches should have been taken. I know we can do much better and we want to set a high standard in that department. I am really not very proud of our fielding effort,” Rohit said. England surely will come hard at India in the second T20I game. India, on the other hand, would look to shut the home team out by winning at Edgbaston.
Hard work with good intention pays: Pandya
Southampton: Success and failure have stopped influencing star all rounder Hardik Pandya, who has learnt to live a “neutral life” with a lot of clarity. Battling an injury-ravaged body, it was not easy for Pandya to return to the game. “I always believe that if you do hard work with good intention, it pays. Results will go my way, on other days it won’t,” Hardik said at the post-match press conference. “My mindset doesn’t take me too high or low. I have learnt to live neutral in life,” he added.