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Jofra Archer leads England to thumping win over India in first T20 to begin road to World Cup in style

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Jofra Archer-inspired dominance with the ball and some welcome strong form from Jason Roy helped England put their Test woes behind them with a thumping victory in the first of five T20s against India. 

An eight-wicket win with 27 balls to spare meant this was not far off a perfect day’s work for England.

They won the toss, reduced India to 20 for three in the powerplay, and limited them to a limp 124 for seven in their 20 overs, before making light work of the chase. Roy gave England’s chase impetus with 49, then his ODI opening partner Jonny Bairstow thrashed 26 to finish the job. 

One of England’s problems is powerplay wickets. And when they left Moeen Ali out and saw India had picked a left-handed opener, Shikhar Dhawan, they might have been frustrated. But, by opting for ultra-aggressive tactics, they got off to the dream start – and never looked back. 

Morgan used two overs from his best bowlers, Adil Rashid – who had never opened the bowling before – and Jofra Archer, straight up. And they rewarded him with a wicket each; Archer bowled KL Rahul, then Virat Kohli miscued Rashid to mid-off for his second duck in a row. India were 3-2, and England were flying. 

All four bowlers Morgan used started with a brilliant first over. Rashid conceded just two, Archer bowled a wicket maiden, Wood conceded two and bowled Shikhar Dhawan slogging, then Chris Jordan finished off with another over costing just two. Even with a remarkable reverse-scooped six from Rishabh Pant off Archer thrown in, India limped to 22 for three after six. 

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India never fully recovered. Pant fell to Ben Stokes at halfway, then Archer picked up Hardik Pandya, just as he threatened to fizz, and Shardul Thakur in successive balls. 

The only Indian to find his timing was Shreyas Iyer, the least certain of his place in the top six. Iyer played beautifully, setting himself on his way by turning boundaries to fine leg, but was soon playing more expansively. He may not have the raw power of his team-mates, but his mix of flicks and punches made him tough to bowl to. Eventually, he fell in the final over – but not before giving India something to bowl at. 

England caught brilliantly. Jonny Bairstow did well to catch Pant, Dawid Malan showed he had safe hands in the deep, while Jordan took Pandya low at mid-off at a vital moment. 

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