Yuvraj Singh starred as India fought back at Pune with a five wicket win in the first T20 international as England failed to continue their momentum from the triumphant test series.
The new look England T20 team, was led by Eoin Morgan on his captaincy debut in Stuart Broad’s absence. The middle order collapse damaged the innings after Alex Hales scored a quick fire half century giving the three lions a lighting start.
The Nottinghamshire opener overcame the early dismissal of Michael Lumb to put England in a strong position. Hales and Luke Wright shared a 68 run partnership from only 42 balls by taking England to 89-1 at the halfway stage of the innings.
Hales cleared the boundary on two occasions but his innings came to an end when Yuvraj Singh’s quicker delivery escaped through the gate and hit the middle stump.
Yuvraj picked up three wickets inside his four overs, Wright fell for 34 when he presented a catch in the death to Ajinkiya Rahane and Morgan gave away his wicket cheaply in similar fashion leaving England on 100-4.
Jos Butler flourished in the latter overs by hitting debutant Parwinder Awana’s final over for 17 and the Somerset man finished unbeaten on 33 giving his side a challenging total of 157.
Some early wayward bowling from Jade Dernbach and Tim Bresnan gave India a flying start as openers Ghautam Ghambhir and Rahane put on 42.
Bresnan then struck twice bringing the tourists back into the game, Ghambhir hit straight to Hales and Rahane fell for 19 caught at mid-on by Samit Patel.
Yuvraj joined Virat Kohli at the middle in the eighth over and the danger man Yuvraj dispatched young spinner Danny Briggs for two massive sixes and a four in his opening over.
Stuart Meaker on his debut had Kohli’s wicket when he chopped the ball back onto his stumps leaving India on 110-4.
Yuvraj made 38 runs off 21 balls and Suresh Raina chipped in with 26 off 19, which kept India over the required run rate and in control.
But, if Morgan had run out Dhoni after Yuvraj’s dismissal it may have been a different outcome to the game.
England stand in skipper did find the target when he ran out Raina, however Dhoni’s unbeaten 24 ensured victory for India with 13 balls to spare.
The teams will meet again on Saturday in Mumbai for the second and final T20.