“It’s my first tour in England, so far things are going very well. Perfect conditions. It felt like home conditions.” – MoM Kuldeep Yadav

“Rahul’s come a long way - so clean and so crisp. We want guys like him to step up to make the batting even stronger so we have flexibility for the others” – India skipper Virat Kohli

England were in form, but India always were the team to beat. They had the big names who have been consistently doling out eye-catching performances over the past one year. In the bowling department, it was Kuldeep Yadav who stepped up with a fine five-wicket haul, ensuring that India’s ploy of using wrist-spinners does not fall flat. If Kuldeep broke England’s back, Rahul put knocked them out with a blistering century. England had no answer to his onslaught. To think he isn’t an automatic entry into India’s playing XI is quite perplexing. It is likely that this might well change after today.

Kohli finishes it off in style! India win by 8 wickets! The visitors finish on 163/2.They surpass England’s target with 10 balls to spare. (Rahul 101*, Kohli 20*)

After 18 overs, IND 156/2.
100 up for Rahul! It has been a delightful innings. He’s bludgeoned it all around the ground today! He gets there in just 53 balls.

After 17 overs, IND 146/2 (Rahul 94*, Kohli 9*). They need another 14 runs from 18 balls.
Can Rahul get to his second T20I century? He can get there with one shot.

After 15 overs, IND 137/2 (Rahul 91*, Kohli 5*). They need another 23 runs from 30 balls.
Rahul has batted brilliantly. Will be interesting to see how he goes about amassing the last couple of runs to reach his century. Will he blast away or get there in singles?

After 13 overs, IND 131/2
WICKET! Rohit departs on 32! He hits it straight to the fielder in short cover. India need another 29 runs from 42 deliveries.
Rohit c Morgan b Rashid 32 (30b 3x4 1x6)

After 11 overs, IND 123/1 (Rahul 85*, Rohit 29*)
Rahul has blown away the England bowling attack. He now smashes Ali for two sixes and as many boundaries in one over.

After 10 overs, IND 103/1 (Rahul 65*, Rohit 29*).
100 up for India! Rahul isn’t sitting back after reaching his half-century. A four and a six off Ali sees India cross the three-figure mark. They need another 57 runs from 60 balls.

After 9 overs, IND 89/1.
50 up for Rahul! He gets there in 27 deliveries. His effort has included 6 fours and two sixes so far.

IND need another 100 runs from 13 overs.
England struggling to contain the two batsmen. They need a breakthrough desperately.

After 6 overs, IND 54/1 (Rohit 13*, Rahul 32*).
50 up for India! Rahul and Rohit have settled down well. The strokeplay has been quite exquisite so far especially off the bat of the former.

After 5 overs, IND 48/1.
Now Rohit gets into the act. Gets two boundaries off Jordan. He had a close shave with an inside edge, but came back well. He showed some discomfort with his elbow, but walked it off.

After 4 overs, IND 38/1.
The dropped catch hasn’t changed Rahul’s brief much. He smashes two boundaries of Plunkett now. He’s looking dangerous.

After 3 overs, IND 26/1.
DROPPED! Rahul gets a reprieve. The batsman looks to smash a wide delivery, but Roy spills it at backward point.

After 2 overs, IND 17/1.
Rahul picks up from where he left off against Ireland. He gorgeous six over cover to announce his arrival.

After 1 over, IND 8/1.
WICKET! Dhawan falls in the first over! Gets an inside edge and the ball shatters the stumps. He started the over off with a boundary, but failed to end it on a similar note.
Dhawan b Willey 5 (4b 1x4)

ENG 159/8 in 20 overs.
India have done well to restrict England after the flying start they had. Kuldeep’s 5-for was the highlight of the innings. There were reservations where India’s wrist-spinners will be able to keep England’s in-form batsmen in check. The youngster, though, lived up to the top billing and bamboozled the batsmen.

After 19 overs, ENG 150/8
WICKET! Umesh removes Jordan as England lose their eighth. With one over left, England can still get a competitive total on the board, but they could have had so many more after the flying start.
Jordan c&b Umesh 0 (1b)

After 18 overs, ENG 148/7.
WICKET! Kuldeep gets his fifth! Buttler skies one. Kohli makes no mistake in the deep. He becomes the second bowler to take a five-wicket haul in T20Is in England.
Buttler c Kohli b Kuldeep 69 (46b 8x4 2x6)

After 17 overs, ENG 137/6.
Willey gets a six and two fours off Bhuvneshwar to relieve some pressure off the Englishmen. 20 runs come off that over.

After 16 overs, ENG 117/6
WICKET! England crumbling. Now, Ali holes out off Pandya. England batsmen looking to slog and perishing while doing so.
Ali c Raina b Pandya 6 (8b 1x4)

After 14 overs, ENG 109/5.
Kuldeep misses out on a hat-trick, but he walks away with three wickets from that over. He’s taken his tally to four so far. He’s conceded just 12 runs in three overs.

WICKET! Root stumped for a duck! Kuldeep gets two in two! That’s four so far. Dhoni struggles to collect it but is quick enough to recover and dislodge the bails in time.
Root st Dhoni b Kuldeep 0 (1b)

WICKET! Kuldeep picks up his third! Draws Bairstow out of his crease and deceives him. Dhoni is quick in dislodging the bails behind the stumps.
Bairstow st Dhoni b Kuldeep 0 (1b)

WICKET! Morgan holes out off Kuldeep! The wrist-spinner has made an immediate impact after coming into the attack. The England captain looks for a slog sweep but does not connect well. Kohli completes a smart catch running in from deep midwicket.
Morgan c Kohli b Kuldeep 7 (6b)

After 12 overs, ENG 100/2 (Buttler 59*, Morgan 3*)
WICKET! Kuldeep hands India the breakthrough! Hales, who was struggling, tries a sweep but fails to pick the wrong one and is bowled. Hales was struggling from the moment he walked in. Playing Kuldeep was never going to be easy.
Hales b Kuldeep 8 (18b)

After 11 overs, ENG 95/1. (Buttler 57*, Hales 8*)
Buttler smashes Hardik for two boundaries and a six in one over. He concedes 18 runs. India were slowly wresting back control, but Buttler has ensured the hosts remain on top.

After 10 overs, ENG 77/1.
Kuldeep is welcomed into the attack with a boundary by Buttler. The bowler follows it up with four dot balls. England have managed to score just 27 runs in the last five overs.

After 9 overs, ENG 72/1 (Buttler 37*, Hales 5*).
Buttler continues to keep the boundaries coming every over. India yet to get Kuldeep into the attack.

After 8 overs, ENG 66/1.
Hardik bowls a full toss to spoil an otherwise fine over. Buttler makes most of the opportunity to get a boundary to relieve some pressure which was slowly building after Roy’s exit.

After 7 overs, ENG 59/1.
Chahal returns with a tight over. Concedes just six runs. Roy’s exit has helped India rein in the galloping England batsmen. Boundaries have dried up a bit as Alex Hales looks to settle down with Buttler in the middle.

After 6 overs, ENG 53/1.
Hardik begins his spell as Buttler looks to lead the way after Roy’s exit. The bowler, though, is up to the task. He concedes just three runs first up.

After 5 overs, ENG 50/1.
WICKET! Umesh dismisses Roy! The batsman gets a bottom edge and it rolls onto the stumps. He departs for 30. He falls just one ball after getting a reprieve. He had skied one. Chahal running in from fine leg doesn’t reach it in time.
Roy b Umesh 30 (20b 5x4)

After 4 overs, ENG 44/0
Kohli introduces wrist-spin early. Chahal bowls the fourth over. He, however, struggled to keep Roy and Buttler in check. The former uses the reverse sweep to great effect and gets a boundary. Buttler doesn’t bother with the unorthodox. Goes down the track and earns a six for his troubles. He then rocks back on the back foot to cut for another four. Chahal concedes 16 runs in his first over.

After 3 overs, ENG 28/0 (Roy 24*, Buttler 4*)
Bhuvneshwar keeps Roy in check. The batsman, though, manages a streaky boundary to keep England’s scoreboard ticking.

After 2 overs, ENG 20/0.
Roy continues to bat positively. dispatches Umesh for a four, before Buttler joins the party with a scoop over the keeper’s head.

After 1 over, ENG 11/0.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar starts off proceedings with the ball. Jason Roy and Jos Buttler open the innings for England. Buttler was a regular opener in the IPL. The team management seems to have picked up on the trend. He doesn’t face a ball though in the opening over. Roy does the needful, smashes Bhuvneshwar for two consecutive boundaries to hand his side a positive start.

“Our preparation has been really good. We’re playing fearless cricket, which we want to continue.” – India skipper Virat Kohli.

India XI: Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli, Raina, Rahul, Dhoni, Hardik, Bhuvneshwar, Kuldeep, Umesh, Chahal.
England XI: Roy, Buttler, Hales, Root, Morgan, Bairstow, Ali, Willey, Plunkett, Jordan, Rashid.

India have won the toss and will bowl first.

Their supremacy in shorter formats is redoubtable but India will have their task cut out against a vastly improved England in the opening T20 International in what will be a defining summer for Virat Kohli and his team.

While India has been a consistent limited overs side during the past decade, England have finally found their mojo in ODIs and T20s, courtesy a group of fantastic limited overs players like Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Ben Stokes.

With the 2019 ODI World Cup less than 12 months away, there is more than bragging rights at stake as both sides look to fine-tune preparations against an opposition of note.

India are coming into the series with two facile victories over Ireland – by 72 and 143 runs respectively but Kohli knows too well that England will be a different proposition.

What will give him confidence though is the fact that India have won 15 of their last 20 T20 Internationals including the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka and the bilateral away series against South Africa.

England are coming into series on the back of 6-0 drubbing of Australia with Buttler, Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow in fantastic form.