|First Twenty20 international, Kanpur|
|India 147-7 (20 overs): Dhoni 36* (27), Moeen 2-21|
|England 148-3 (18.1 overs): Morgan 51 (38), Root 46* (46)|
|England won by seven wickets|
An impressive England bowling display laid the foundation for a comfortable seven-wicket victory over India in the first Twenty20 international.
Expertly varying pace and length, England restricted India to 147-7, off-spinner Moeen Ali’s 2-21 the standout.
Sam Billings took 20 from the second over of England’s reply, with Eoin Morgan (51) and Joe Root (46 not out) completing the chase in 18.1 overs.
The second of the three T20 matches is in Nagpur on Sunday.
England will look to wrap up the series after putting in their best performance of a tour that saw them heavily beaten in the Tests and squeezed out in the one-day internationals.
The home side rested spin-bowling tormentors Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, but even their presence would have been unlikely to derail an England side that won their first T20 match in India since an agonising defeat in the final of the 2016 World T20.
Bowlers lead the way
It was England’s bowling which was found wanting in what turned out to be the highest-scoring three-match ODI series of all time.
But in Kanpur they learned quickly after initially bowling too full, pace quartet Tymal Mills, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett and Ben Stokes mixing back-of-a-length with changes of pace.
Moeen also went through his repertoire, conceding only one boundary and having the incredibly dangerous Virat Kohli superbly held at mid-wicket by Morgan from his first delivery.
KL Rahul, Yuvraj Singh and Hardik Pandya fell to the short ball, the latter giving pacy left-arm T20 specialist Mills his first international wicket.
India found the boundary only three times between the 10th and 19th overs and it was left to former captain MS Dhoni, who took 12 from the final over, to add some respectability.
Still, the hosts seemed at least 20 below par on a good pitch, with England so in control that leg-spinner Adil Rashid was not called on to bowl.
Morgan and Root finish the job
Any suggestion that India would find a way back was snuffed out by Billings, opening in place of the injured Alex Hales.
Jasprit Bumrah was battered for three fours and a ramped six as England’s chase began with a sprint.
A slight wobble came when Jason Roy, who himself hit two sixes, and Billings were both bowled in the same over by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.
But, with the required rate under control, Root and Morgan were afforded time to rebuild with pressure-free accumulation.
In between taking the singles on offer, Morgan lofted four sixes over the leg side before holing out to long-off from off-spinner Parvez Rasool one ball after reaching an eighth T20 half-century.
That ended a stand of 83 with Root, who was joined by Stokes and survived being bowled off a Bumrah no-ball to accelerate England home.
‘Our bowlers were outstanding’ – what they said
England captain Eoin Morgan: “Our bowlers were outstanding. Everyone in the unit executed the plans we talked about. We showed a lot of experience.
“The opening batsmen got off to a flier and that releases any pressure on the guys coming in after them. Sam Billings hasn’t played much this tour but he has taken his chances when he has had an opportunity.”
India captain Virat Kohli: “England played better cricket – with the ball and the bat they were precise. They were deserving winners and we need to stand up and applaud them.
“This is a format you need to enjoy and play at your intense best. We need to address the things we want to and not take too much stress from this. We need to just enjoy and not put too much pressure on the youngsters.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan on Twitter: “Not many teams give India a T20 masterclass, especially not in their own back yard. England have to find a way of getting Sam Billings in the ODI team.”