BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – Skipper Eoin Morgan found his form at the right time to lead England to a thrilling three-run victory over India in a one-off T20 international at Edgbaston on Sunday.
Morgan, who had scored only 198 runs in 10 one-day international innings since returning from injury in March, smashed 71 off 31 balls including seven sixes and three fours, as England posted a daunting 180 for seven wickets in their 20 overs.
In reply, another batsman out of sorts this summer – Virat Kohli – led the India charge but his 66 off 41 balls and 27 off 18 by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the death could not clinch victory for India who finished on 177 for five.
Ajinkya Rahane took a T20 record-equalling four catches, including a stunning running, diving effort to dismiss Alex Hales (40) but India’s bowling took a battering late on, conceding 81 runs off the last five overs as Morgan and Ravi Bopara ran riot.
Bopara added 21 off 9 balls with three fours and a six while Mohammed Shami was the pick of the Indian attack, taking three for 38.
“It was awesome, games like this are great for a team like ourselves as we’re learning, and we’ve held our own against some of the best in the world – Gurney, Woakes and Finn came up trumps,” Morgan told the BBC.
“You’ve very little margin for error with someone like Dhoni at the crease. To come out with a win today, the guys should be proud of themselves.
“It was nice to get some runs today, I was striking it really well and targeting the short boundaries. People will leave the ground, and leave their television sets, with a smile on their face.”
England smashed 17 runs off the first over with 24-year-old debutant Jason Roy and Hales starting aggressively. But South Africa-born Roy was first to go for eight, chipping to Rahane at cover off Shami.
Two balls later Moeen Ali fell for a duck – caught again by Rahane off Mohit Sharma – then Hales and Joe Root steadied the ship, putting on 48 before Hales fell.
Root, a century-maker in the final one-day international between the sides, was well caught by Ambati Rayudu for 26 as Morgan led the final onslaught.