London: After an electric half century from just 33 balls, Hardik Pandya backed up his own effort with 4/33 in a 50-run win.
It was a frustrating T20 World Cup campaign last year for both India and Pandya, who succumbed to back and shoulder injuries during a tumultuous campaign in UAE
On the comeback trail earlier this year, Pandya proved his worth. Winning the 2022 IPL as captain of the new Gujarat Titans, and as Player of the Match in the final, the 28-year-old has brought his form back for the national team.
In ominous form, Pandya picked up where the top order left off, joining Suryakumar Yadav (39 off 19) in the blitz, keeping the run rate above 10 an over in the awkward middle phase.
With a poor 2021 campaign behind them, India have pressed on in their mission for Australia 2022.
The side have now won 14 of the last 17 T20Is since the tournament, with a no result against South Africa in Bengaluru meaning the side has lost just twice in the same stretch.
And while Hardik Pandya may have taken personal accolades on this occasion, there is no shortage of players ready to put their hand up if required in October.
Deepak Hooda’s 33 (17) shows his form in Ireland was no flash in the pan, with the Dinesh Karthik career renaissance providing the side with another finisher at the side’s disposal.
On the bowling side, Yuzvendra Chahal continues to look the goods. Claiming Harry Brook (28 off 23) and Moeen Ali (36 off 20), the leg-spinner curtailed any chance of an English fightback.
As his red-ball compatriots ride the wave of a successful start under Brendon McCullum, it wasn’t to be for Jos Buttler as the new T20I white-ball captain, falling to the defeat and falling for a first-ball duck in the chase.
The right-hander was set up by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with the swing bowler’s first four deliveries moving away from Jason Roy, only for Buttler’s first to hoop in and dismantle the stumps.
Earlier, Buttler deployed seven bowlers, with Chris Jordan (2/23 from four overs) the only to provide any pushback to India’s charges.