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MANCHESTER: Lokesh Rahul made a brilliant unbeaten 101 to follow spinner Kuldeep Yadav’s career-best five-wicket haul as India crushed England by eight wickets in the first Twenty20 International at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Rahul plundered five sixes and 10 fours from 54 balls as India reached their target of 160 with 10 deliveries to spare.

Left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep took five for 24, including three wickets in one over, as England struggled to a modest 159-8 from their 20 overs.

Jos Buttler continued his rich vein of form with 69 off 46 balls but the hosts faltered after a bright start and Kuldeep’s inspired spell ripped out their middle-order.

After the early loss of Shikhar Dhawan, Rahul and Rohit Sharma shared a rapid second-wicket partnership of 123 and India were able to knock off the last few runs mainly in singles as they eased to a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

India captain Virat Kohli praised the contributions of his match-winners.

“He’s [Rahul] someone who has come a long way,” Kohli told Sky Sports. “We want guys like him to step up, so other guys can play with more freedom. He’s very hungry and it’s a great sign for Indian cricket.

“He’s [Kuldeep] going to be effective on any pitches we play on. When it turns, he’s going to be even more lethal. He’s very difficult to pick.”

The second game is in Cardiff on Friday.

Scoreboard

ENGLAND:

J.J. Roy b U. Yadav 30

J.C. Buttler c Kohli b Kuldeep 69

A.D. Hales b Kuldeep 8

E.J.G. Morgan c Kohli b Kuldeep 7

J.M. Bairstow st Dhoni b Kuldeep 0

J.E. Root st Dhoni b Kuldeep 0

Moeen Ali c Raina b Pandya 6

D.J. Willey not out 29

C.J. Jordan c and b U. Yadav 0

L.E. Plunkett not out 3

EXTRAS (LB-2, W-5) 7

TOTAL (for eight wkts, 20 overs) 159

FALL OF WKTS: 1-50, 2-95, 3-106, 4-107, 5-107, 6-117, 7-141, 8-149.

DID NOT BAT: A.U. Rashid

BOWLING: Kumar 4-0-45-0 (4w); U. Yadav 4-0-21-2; Chahal 4-0-34-0 (1w); Pandya 4-0-33-1; Kuldeep Yadav 4-0-24-5.

INDIA:

R.G. Sharma c Morgan b Rashid 32

S. Dhawan b Willey 5

K.L. Rahul not out 101

V. Kohli not out 20

EXTRAS (LB-1, W-4) 5

TOTAL (for two wkts, 18.2 overs) 163

FALL OF WKTS: 1-7, 2-130.

DID NOT BAT: S.K. Raina, M.S. Dhoni, H.H. Pandya, U. Yadav, B. Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav Y.S. Chahal.

BOWLING: Willey 4-0-30-1 (2w); Jordan 4-0-27-0; Plunkett 4-0-42-0 (2w); Rashid 4-0-25-1; Moeen Ali 2.2-0-37-0.

RESULT: India won by eight wickets to lead three-match series 1-0.

UMPIRES: R.T. Robinson (England) and M.A. Gough (England).

TV UMPIRE: A. Wharf (England).

MATCH REFEREE: D.C. Boon (Australia).

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Kuldeep Yadav.

NEXT MATCH: Cardiff, Friday.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2018