KANPUR, India, Jan 26, 2017 (BSS/AFP) - Skipper Eoin Morgan's sublime half-century and a disciplined bowling effort powered England to a seven-wicket win against India in the first Twenty20 international in Kanpur on Thursday.
Chasing a modest 148 for victory, England rode on the third-wicket 83-run stand between Morgan (51) and Joe Root (46 not out) to romp home with 11 balls to spare.
But it was Moeen Ali's career best 2-21 that set up the opening win in the three match series as the visitors restricted the Virat Kohli-led side to 147-7.
In reply, Billings, who hit a 10-ball 22, showed his intent in the second over of the innings as he smashed paceman Jasprit Bumrah for 3 fours and a six to set the pace.
Billings shared a 42-run opening stand with Jason Roy (19) before leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal removed the openers in the space of four deliveries to leave England at 43 for two.
But Morgan and Root, who returned to the side after missing the third ODI in Kolkata with a niggle, kept the chase on track with their attacking brand of cricket.
Morgan, who recorded his eight T20 fifty, struck a four and 4 sixes during his 38-ball knock as he carted the Indian bowlers to all parts of the ground.
Debutant Kashmiri off-spinner Parvez Rasool removed Morgan to claim his first T20 wicket but not after the left-handed batsman had taken the game away from the hosts. Root, whose run-a-ball knock was studded with 4 boundaries, survived a scare after Bumrah got the batsman bowled in the 17th over but it was a no ball.
Earlier put into bat India suffered from lack of partnerships with former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni top-scoring with an unbeaten 36 to give some respectability to the score.
Kohli, who led the T20 side for the first time since taking over from Dhoni as India's permanent limited overs captain, opened the innings along with Lokesh Rahul (8).
The star batsman attacked from the word go with a few boundaries against the England pacers but ran out steam after falling to off-spinner Ali for 29.
The hosts continued to lose wickets as batsmen Suresh Raina (34) and Yuvraj Singh (12) let go of their respective starts to hand the visitors an early advantage at Kanpur's Green Park Stadium.
Dhoni piloted the innings with his calculated 27-ball knock with three boundaries, two of which came in the final over but his effort was not enough to give India a competitive total.
The second match is slated for Sunday in Nagpur.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)