England won the first T20I against Australia at Ageas Bowl on Saturday after a late fightback from the English bowlers.
The visitors required just 39 runs from the last six overs with nine wickets in hand. In the last over, Australia required 15-run to win but they could only score 12 runs off Tom Curran.
Australia won the toss and asked England to bats first. Openers Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow had a 43-run stand for the first wicket, of which, majority of runs came from the former.
Pacer Pat Cummins provided the first breakthrough to the visiting side as he got hold of Bairstow (8) in the fourth over.
Dawid Malan joined Buttler in the middle and stitched a 21-run brief partnership. Aston Agar sent the latter back to the pavilion after scoring 44 runs off 29 balls studded with two sixes and five fours.
Agar struck again and bagged Tom Banton (8) in the 10th over. Skipper Eoin Morgan (5), Moeen Ali (2), and Tom Curran (6) failed to impress with the bat and were departed cheaply.
Chris Jordan and Malan have a quick partnership of 23-run which guided to side to 150 run-mark. Malan was dismissed by Kane Richardson in the 19th over. He played a knock of 66-run off 43 balls including three sixes and five fours. Adil Rashid and Jordan had an unbeaten partnership of 15-run for the eighth wicket. England posted a total of 162/7 in their allotted 20 overs.
For Australia, Agar, Glenn Maxwell and Richardson claimed two wickets each.
Chasing 163, Australia had a brilliant start as skipper Aaron Finch and David Warner added 98 runs in 11 overs before the former was caught at mid-off off Jofra Archer.
Finch amassed 46-run off 32 balls. Steve Smith came in to bat at number three. He looked fluent as he scored 18 from 11 balls, including two fours and a six but Adil Rashid had him caught sweeping and then dismissed Glenn Maxwell four balls later as England fought back. Archer and Mark Wood gained England another two quick wickets as Warner (58) and Alex Carey (1) were both clean bowled to complete collapse of four wickets for nine runs, with the visitors still needing 30 from 21 balls.
Tom Curran managed to prevent Marcus Stoinis and Ashton Agar from finding the boundary in the 18th over before Jordan produced a sublime over under pressure, conceding just four singles and running out Agar with an athletic piece of fielding.
With 15 needed from the final over Stoinis looked to find the rope, smashed the second ball over cover for six. But Curran held his nerve, producing an excellent yorker to deny Stoinis the boundary he needed from the final ball.
Stoinis remained unbeaten on 23* off 18 balls.
For England, Archer and Rashid bagged two wickets each. The left-handed batsman Malan was awarded Player of the match for his heroics with the bat.
The second T20I of the three-match series will be played on Sunday, September 6.
( With inputs from ANI )
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