Hardik Pandya put in a brilliant all-round performance to help India defeat England by 50 runs in the first T20 International in Southampton on Thursday.

The 28-year-old hit a half-century before claiming career-best bowling figures as the visitors took a lead in the three-match series.

Rohit Sharma, returning to international cricket after missing the recent fifth Test against England due to Covid-19, won the toss and opted to bat first. The right-hander started on a bright note and hit five fours but was dismissed for a 14-ball 24 by Moeen Ali against the run of play.

Ishan Kishan, the other opener for India, fell for 8 off 10 but Deepak Hooda, in at No 3, played a crucial knock of 33 off 17 to give the Indian innings the impetus it needed. Suryakumar batted at No 4 and he too played some sparkling strokes in his 19-ball 39.

However, it was Pandya, in at No 5, who top-scored with 51 runs off 33 balls and hit six fours and a six in his knock. The right-hander kept finding much-needed boundaries in the second half of the Indian to help them finish with a total of 198/8.

In reply, England were bowled out for 148 in 19.3 overs with Pandya claiming figures of 4/33 from his four overs. The right-arm pacer dismissed Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Liam Livingstone and Sam Curran, mixing up his line and length brilliantly throughout his spell.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar got India off to a dream start with the ball as he rattled England captain Jos Buttler’s stumps in the first over of the innings. Malan then tried to hit back and picked up four boundaries but Pandya joined the attack in the fifth over and delivered a crucial blow for his team.

He got the wicket of Malan and followed that up by dismissing the dangerous Livingstone for a duck in the same over.

Harry Brook (28 off 33) and Moeen Ali (36 off 20) were the top scorers for England and put on a 61-run partnership for the fifth wicket but Yuzvendra Chahal (2/32) removed the former and that strike set India on their way.

Chris Jordan remained unbeaten on 26 off 17 but he didn’t get much support from the other end.

Left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh, playing his first international match for the senior Indian team, returned with impressive figures of 2/18 from 3.3 overs.

India’s squad for 1st T20I: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaekwad, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik

India’s squad for 2nd and 3rd T20I: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Umran Malik

England squad: Jos Buttler (Captain), Moeen Ali, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Richard Gleeson, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Tymal Mills, Matthew Parkinson, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Reece Topley and David Willey.