Manchester: India kick-started their two-month tour of England on Tuesday with a resounding eight-wicket win at Old Trafford in the first of the three Twenty-20 Internationals.
Kuldeep Yadav and K. L. Rahul were the star performers for the men in blue, with the former claiming his first five-wicket haul in the format, and the latter registering his second T-20I ton to hand India the lead in the 3-match series.
Having put to bat first, England got off to the perfect start with some hard hitting from openers Jason Roy and Jos Buttler, with the 50-run mark breached within five overs. However, Roy, who scored 30 runs from 20 deliveries, was the first casualty of the innings, getting his wicket knocked over by an Umesh Yadav delivery.
Kuldeep Yadav then came in to put a check on the English scoring rate, although he went on to almost single-handedly dismantle the English batting line-up.
He first sent a struggling Alex Hales back to the pavilion in the 12th over and scalped the wickets of skipper Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root in the 14th to effectively end the threat of a dangerous batting line up.
Jos Buttler stood his ground at the other end, scoring 69 runs from 46 balls before he also fell to Kuldeep Yadav in the 18th over. In the end, England managed to register 159 runs on the board with a late cameo from David Willey (29 from 15).
India made light work of the 160-run target. However, England got off to an ideal start again as Shikhar Dhawan was clean bowled in the fourth delivery of the first over by Willey. England then squandered an opportunity to claim a second Indian wicket, as Rahul was dropped by Roy on backward point.
That proved to be a very costly drop as Rahul decimated the English bowling attack and registered his second century in the shortest format, scoring an unbeaten 101 from 54 balls, including as many as 10 boundaries and 5 sixes.
Rohit Sharma (32 from 30) and then Virat Kohli (20 from 22) provided Rahul with the support he needed as India secured the victory in the second delivery of the 19th over.
The second match of the T-20 series will be played in Cardiff on July 6. (ANI)