England Blind lose opener
England Blind slipped to a comprehensive seven-wicket defeat in the first match of the one-day series against India.
The tourists overhauled a target of 212 with 20.5 overs of their 40 overs to spare at Redditch CC, the rescheduled venue for the game following flooding at New Road.
Opener Subhash Boya hit a fine 92 for India, sharing a second-wicekt stand of 112 with Shekhar Naik, who followed up an economical eight-over new-ball spell with a brutal 65 off just 32 balls.
Rory Field and Luke Sugg contributed half-centuries to England’s total of 211 for seven, and took a wicket apiece as India cruised to victory.
England, who lost the toss, had the worst of the batting conditions after a delayed start, with a slow outfield and the dampness either side of the pitch hampering running between the wickets.
The loss of Nathan Foy in the first over to the first of Bisherjeet Singh's three catches enabled the India bowlers to impose themselves early on, restricting scoring with a predominantly leg-stump line and a packed leg-side field.
Sugg and Field tried to make the most of scoring opportunities but often cleanly struck shots went unrewarded.
Field was caught by B1 fielder Ketan Patel for 54 to leave England 118 for two, but the introduction of Matt Dean saw an increase in tempo before Sugg fell for 59, which included four of the innings' seven boundaries.
The run-outs of Dean and Dave Powers brought in debutant Andy Briant, who pushed the ball into the gaps for an impressive 20 before being bowled by Rakesh Perjapati.
The run-rate gradually increased as batsmen took more risks but three wickets fell for 16 runs late on.
The India batsmen wasted little time in signalling their intent, reaching 39 after four overs for the loss of Ashish Negi, caught by Field off Sugg.
Naik joined B1 opener Boya and dominated proceedings with an authoritative innings. Naikl struck 13 boundaries, hitting powerfully to leg and occasionally driving through mid-off.
Though Field trapped him in front to reduce India to 151 for two, Rajinder Verma added 57 in five overs with Boya to end England’s hopes, and Boya’s run-out late on had no bearing on the result.
The second game of the five-match series takes place at Redditch on Wednesday.