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England edge past India in thriller

By Callum Dent

England held off a late charge from Mahendra Singh Dhoni to secure a narrow three-run victory over India in the solitary NatWest International T20 at Edgbaston. 

With 17 required from the final over, bowled by Chris Woakes, the tourists’ skipper gave the hosts a scare by blasting a six off the first ball. 

But, despite his best efforts, India – who were also boosted by 66 from Virat Kohli – came up just short.

Eoin Morgan, leading the side in the absence of the injured Stuart Broad, lifted England to an imposing 180 for seven by blasting 71 off just 31 deliveries. 

The left-hander smacked a trio of fours and seven sixes in an explosive knock, helping his side take 81 off the final five overs.

England handed Jason Roy a debut and the Surrey power-hitter made a confident start, reverse-sweeping his second ball for four, before Alex Hales also cashed in as 17 came from Ravichandran Ashwin’s opening over. 

However, the hosts’ progress was checked when Roy chipped Mohit Sharma to Ajinkya Rahane, who then held on off Mohammed Shami to dismiss Moeen Ali for a duck two balls later.

England seamer Chris Woakes celebrates after winning the battle with India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the final over at Edgbaston

Hales moved to 40 by blasting Ravindra Jadeja into the stand behind midwicket but, in trying to hit a fourth maximum, departed next ball when Rahane held on to a brilliant diving catch running in from long-on.

Two overs later with the score on 85, Root – embarrassingly dropped on eight by Ashwin – was the victim of another superb catch from an Indian, this time Ambati Rayudu sliding forward to hold on at cow corner and hand Karn Sharma a maiden ODI scalp.

The loss of two established batsmen put the brakes on England until Morgan went on the offensive with five overs remaining.

Morgan launched Jadeja over long-on and then twice hoisted Karn over midwicket, moving to a half-century a ball after clubbing Shami for his fourth six.

Prior to that milestone, Shami struck by having Buttler, who struggled for timing, caught in the deep to end a 45-run stand with Morgan.

Morgan hit a four and a brace of maximums over midwicket in a penultimate over costing 21 before providing Rahane with a fourth catch from the second ball of the final set of six.

Stand-in England skipper Eoin Morgan goes on the attack during a brutal innings that saw him smash 71 off just 31 deliveries

Ravi Bopara then punished Shami for bowling low full-tosses by finding the boundary three times to end with 21 off just nine balls.

Rahane stamped his authority on India’s reply with a swept six from Moeen’s third delivery. But, in trying to replicate the shot next ball, the right-hander was bowled round his legs.

India upped the tempo from the third over, taking 49 runs from the next four, as Kohli struck three consecutive fours off Woakes and Shikhar Dhawan carted Harry Gurney and Steven Finn for sixes behind square.

The return of Woakes, with the score on 89 at the halfway stage, reaped immediate rewards as Dhawan lost his shape charging his first ball and was bowled.

After moving to a fifty, Kohli took two consecutive fours off Woakes but, in the next, was fortunate that Gurney, diving to his left at short fine-leg, could not get more than a finger on a scoop shot.

Kohli’s luck ran out when he charged Finn and skied a short ball into the hands of Hales, running in from the midwicket rope, and then Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja both departed.

Dhoni took on the responsibility of guiding his side home by rejecting a single to leave five required from the final delivery, only to come up just short against Woakes.  

Scorecard / Live ball-by-ball commentary

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Post-Match Presentation

England captain Eoin Morgan, who was man of the match for his 31-ball 71, said : “Throughout the whole game the guys held their nerve really well, getting up to 180.

“We found that the fuller ball was quite easy to hit and we went back to what we felt they should have bowled.”

On his return to form, Morgan added: “I’ve gone through some tough times and come out the other side of it.” 

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who turned down a single to leave five needed from the last ball, said: “I thought ‘I’m middling it, I’ll have a good chance’.

“In the last over there were at least two more balls I could have hit over the boundary.”

On India’s fielding, Dhoni added: “The only reason we were able to restrict them to 180 was because of the brilliant catching.”

India Innings

6.16pm – END OF INNINGS! Eng 177/7; Dhoni 27, Rayudu 3 – ENGLAND WIN BY THREE RUNS! – Dhoni can only pull into the leg side for one from the final ball, meaning England win by just three runs. What a game!

6.14pm –  Dhoni gives up the opportunity to take a single and then lobs Woakes over Morgan at mid-off for four. Five required from two deliveries. 

6.11pm – The India skipper hits a slower ball bouncer into the leg side and, after a slight mix-up, comes back for two. 

6.09pm – Dhoni crashes a full Woakes delivery for six. 11 needed from five. 

6.06pm – Dhoni deposits a low Gurney full-toss into the leg side for four but then misses out next ball. Ambati Rayudu fails to take anything off the final two balls of the penultimate over to leave India requiring 17 off six balls. 

5.58pm – WICKET! Jadeja run out (Bopara); Ind 152/5 – Ravindra Jadeja squirts a wide delivery from Finn over a leaping Gurney at short third man for four. But later in the over, the former is sent back by Dhoni after returning for a second and Finn takes off the bails. 

5.53pm – WICKET! Raina b Gurney 25; Ind 145/4 – Gurney produces a brilliant yorker that beats the defences of Raina. 

5.47pm –  Mahendra Singh Dhoni, batting without a helmet, is almost run out by a Finn direct-hit after reverse-sweeping Tredwell to short third man. India need 40 from the final four overs.

5.40pm – WICKET! Kohli c Hales b Finn 66; Ind 131/3 – Finn gets the key wicket of Kohli, who advances down the track and skies a bouncer to Alex Hales running in from the midwicket rope. 

5.36pm – CHANCE! –  Kohli clears midwicket off Moeen before almost falling. Gurney, diving to his left at short fine-leg, gets a finger to a scoop shot but cannot hold on. Kohli then replicates his earlier boundary next ball. 

5.33pm – FIFTY! Kohli (34b 6×4 1×6) –  Kohli scampers two into the leg side to move to a half-century, his first of the tour. The right-hander then inside-edges Woakes’ next ball for four. 

5.28pm – Suresh Raina requires seven balls to land his first maximum, over midwicket off Tredwell. India collect 10 off the over and are keeping up with the rate. 

5.21pm – WICKET! Dhawan b Woakes 33; Ind 89/2 – The returning Woakes makes an important breakthrough as Dhawan attempts a big shot and is bowled.

5.18pm – India require 92 from the final 10 overs.

5.16pm – This partnership is racing along now. Kohli welcomes Moeen back into the attack by launching him over midwicket for his first six.

5.12pm – Ravi Bopara struggles with his line in his opening over and is taken for 14. England again turn to spin, this time in the form of James Tredwell. India have added 49 runs from the last four overs. 

5.05pm – Dhawan cashes in during the final over of the powerplay, which ends with India on 53 for one. The left-hander lifts Finn behind square for a four and a six. 

5pm – Gurney strays down leg and Shikhar Dhawan carts him behind square for six. Back comes Finn…

4.55pm – Woakes is not having much success in his first set of six as Kohli goes on the attack, hitting three consecutive fours. India are 30 for one after four.

4.51pm – Virat Kohli is up and running. Harry Gurney, on for Finn, is lifted over the infield for four. Eoin Morgan is frequently changing his bowlers, handing them one-over spells at present as Chris Woakes replaces Moeen. The Warwickshire all-rounder is operating from the end he excelled at during the final over of the NatWest T20 Blast final a few weeks ago.

4.45pm – WICKET! Rahane b Moeen 8; Ind 10/1 –  After delivering a wide first ball, Moeen Ali is then swept for six by Ajinkya Rahane. The spinner gets his revenge next ball, though, bowling the right-hander round his legs. 

4.43pm – England took 17 from the opening over, but India manage just three from Steven Finn’s first set of six. 

England Innings  

4.18pm – WICKET & END OF INNINGS! – Woakes run out (Dhoni) 0; Eng 180/7; Bopara 21 –  Shami finally pays for delivering constant full-tosses as Ravi Bopara smashes him for two fours and a maximum to lift England to 180 for seven. Chris Woakes is run out trying to sneak a single from the final ball. 

4.15pm – WICKET! Morgan c Rahane b Shami 71; Eng 166/6 – Morgan holes out into the deep where Rahane takes a fourth catch. What a fantastic innings from the stand-in skipper. 

4.13pm – This is brilliant stuff from Morgan! He is smacking everything. This time he follows a four with two sixes, over long-on and midwicket off Mohit. Twenty-one come from the 19th over.

4.06pm – FIFTY! Morgan (26b 1×4 5×6) –  Morgan is dealing in sixes! He plants his foot outside leg stump and lifts Shami flat back over his head for six. A two into the leg side then takes him to 50.

4.04pm – WICKET! Buttler c Rayudu b Shami 10; Eng 130/5 – Shami returns and strikes first ball when Buttler clubs a full-toss straight to Rayudu on the midwicket rope. 

4.03pm – Morgan means business! The left-hander hangs back and lifts Karn for two sixes in the 16th over. England are on the charge. 

4pm – Morgan goes on the attack, driving Jadeja back past him for four and then hoisting the left-armer over long-on for a maximum next ball. The 15th over costs 14.

3.57pm – India’s spinners have put the brakes on England here, leaving the hosts 99 for four with just five overs left.

3.52pm – REVIEW! – Mahendra Singh Dhoni takes off the bails and thinks he has run out Jos Buttler, only for replays to show the batsman is home. 

3.46pm – WICKET! Root c Rayudu b Jadeja 26; Eng 85/4 –  Root goes for a big shot off Karn and is the victim of another fine catch, this time by a sliding Ambati Rayudu, handing the leg-spinner a maiden ODI scalp.

3.45pm – Skipper Eoin Morgan wastes little time in getting his eye in, powerfully sweeping Ashwin for six. England are 84 for three after 11.

3.38pm – WICKET! Hales c Rahane b Jadeja 40; Eng 75/3 –  Hales and Root are rotating the strike as the spinners work in tandem. The former then breaks the shackles, blasting Ravindra Jadeja high over midwicket and into the stand. However, Hales goes for another big shot and Rahane produces a stunning diving catch running in from long-on.

3.32pm – Karn leaks seven from his opening over in T20 internationals, with Hales rocking back and cutting his fifth delivery to the point boundary to bring up England’s 50.

3.28pm – England take eight from the sixth over, leaving them 46 for two after the powerplay. 

3.22pm – CHANCE! –  Root is given a life when he top-edges Shami and is dropped by Ashwin, who seemed to be put off by the presence of Karn Sharma. 

3.18pm – Joe Root, fresh from making a century in Friday’s final Royal London one-day international, flicks Mohit through midwicket for four. The right-hander looks in fine touch. 

3.14pm – WICKET! Moeen c Rahane b Mohit 0; Eng 27/2 – Moeen Ali departs second ball when he lifts Mohit straight to Rahane. Two wickets in three balls for India. 

3.12pm – WICKET! Roy c Rahane b Shami 8; Eng 26/1 – Roy tries to chip a full Mohammed Shami ball over cover but picks out Ajinkya Rahane. 

3.08pm – Hales smashes Mohit Sharma back over his head for his second six of the innings. England are 24 without loss after two overs. 

3pm – Ravichandran Ashwin, one of five spinners in India’s side today, opens the bowling and Jason Roy reverse-sweeps the tweaker for four second ball. Alex Hales then gets in on the act, rocking back to drive Ashwin through the covers and sweeping him for a maximum to end an opening over that costs 17.

Pre-Play News

2.50pm – Morgan takes charge of England today due to the absence of injured paceman Stuart Broad. And, speaking in his pre-match interview yesterday, the 27-year-old left-hander is hoping the captaincy brings the best out of him .

England: Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (capt), Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, James Tredwell, Steven Finn, Harry Gurney.

India: Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Karn Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami.

2.32pm – TOSS! – England, led by Eoin Morgan, win the toss and opt to bat. 

2.30pm – Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of the solitary NatWest International T20 between England and India at Edgbaston. The hosts are looking to finish their summer schedule on a high following the 3-1 Royal London One-Day Series defeat to the tourists. 

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