Buttler's first game as England skipper ends in heavy loss to Hardik-inspired India

By Sports Desk July 07, 2022

Jos Buttler's first game as permanent England captain ended in a resounding 50-run defeat to India at the Ageas Bowl in Thursday's opening Twenty20 International.

Hardik Pandya starred with 51 runs as India set their opponents a target of 199 for victory, but England – who lost Buttler for a first-ball duck – did not come close.

As well as registering a maiden fifth in the format, Hardik also took three wickets in seven balls and finished on 4-33 as India made a strong start to the three-match series.

India should have set England a bigger total to chase down, with Rohit Sharma (24 off 14) making their intentions clear from the off after winning the toss and electing to bat.

Ishan Kishan (eight) struggled to get going, but Deepak Hooda (33) and Suryakumar Yadav (39) piled on the runs for an India side missing some key players.

Hardik's quick-fire 45-run partnership with Axar Patel (17) put the tourists in a strong position, though Hardik's dismissal and the loss of Dinesh Karthik (11) saw them stall a little.

Chris Jordan was the pick of England's attack with 2-23, while Moeen Ali (2-26) also chipped in, with Axar Patel the last to fall for 17.

England's response never really got going following the early loss of Buttler to Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the first over, despite the best efforts of top scorer Moeen (36 off 20).

Hardik accounted for Dawid Malan (31), Liam Livingstone (duck), Sam Curran (four) and Jason Roy (four), leaving England with too much to do in a flat start to another new era.


Buttler's England falter

England (146.3) and India (145.9) entered this contest with the best batting strike rates of all Test-playing countries in T20Is since the beginning of 2020.

The hosts could not find any momentum when left on 33-4 after 6.1 overs, though, and were bowled out in the final over for 148.

Kumar closing in on Bumrah

Hardik was mightily impressive for India, but credit must also go to Kumar for taking Buttler early on with an in-swinger to get the ball rolling for the tourists.

With that, the 32-year-old is now one away from overtaking Jasprit Bumrah (67) as his country's second all-time leading wicket-taker.

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