A fine all-round performance by Yuvraj Singh enabled India to beat England by five wickets with 13 balls to spare in the first of the two-match T20 series against England at the Subrata Roy Sahara cricket stadium here today.
Yuvraj first bowled a excellent spell of 3-18 to help India restrict England at 157 for 6. He then smashed 38 runs off just 21 balls, with the help of two fours and three sixes, to enable India reach the target in 17.5 overs.
After Ajinkya Rahane and Gautam Gambhir gave India a quick start, scoring 42 runs in 4.3 overs, the hosts lost both the openers in the space of four balls. India were in a spot of bother at that time.
But in came Yuvraj Singh and along with Virat Kohli took India in a position, from where England had no chance of pulling things back.
The duo added 49 runs from 30 balls, out of which Yuvraj’s contribution was 38, to bring the equation down to almost a run-a-ball. Yuvraj Singh miss-timed a pull off Luke Wright and was caught at deep square-leg by Meaker. But Virat Kohli (21 runs 17 in balls), Suresh Raina (26 runs, 19 balls) and skipper MS Dhoni (24 not out in 21 balls) made sure that India stayed well ahead of the required run-rate, and eventually got there on the penultimate ball of the 18th over.
Riding on a superb half century by opener Alex Hales, England scored a competitive looking 157 for 6 batting first in the first T20 game against India at the Subrata Roy Sahara Cricket stadium here today.
Put in to bat first, England were given a terrific platform by 23-year-old opener Hales and T20 specialist Luke Wright.
The duo smashed 61 runs off just 42 deliveries, and at one stage it looked like England would comfortably cross the 180-run mark. But Yuvraj Singh smart bowling spell brought India right back in the contest. The left-arm spinner first removed Wright in the 11th over, caught by Rahane at Long off, and then got rid of dangerous looking Hales and English skipper Eion Morgan in his next over, which was the 13th of the England innings.
The three quick wickets brought the run rate down considerably, and it was only because of some big hitting from Samit Patel (24 runs off 21 balls) and James Buttler (33 runs off 21 balls) that England managed to get close to the 160-run mark in the end.
Buttler smashed two sixes in the last over bowled by debutant Awana, in which the visitors scored 17 runs. For India, Yuvraj Singh finished as the most successful bowler, with figures of 3-18 from his four overs.
The second and final T20 game of the series would be played in Mumbai on Saturday.