Morgan does it for England
Skipper’s unbeaten 49 helps visitors level series with 6-wicket win over India
India desperately wanted to sweep the Twenty20 series, more to instill some doses of belief in them than making amends for the defeat in the Test series. But a spirited England thwarted their desire, notching up a last-ball win.
England needed three runs off the final ball and skipper Eoin Morgan, who made a match-winning unbeaten 49, smashed a six off Ashok Dinda as England emerged a six-wicket winner to level the series 1-1.
Once he won the toss, Morgan had little hesitation in opting to bowl, keeping in mind the dew factor. His bowlers responded to his call only between 10th and 15th overs, leaking runs in other segments as India powered their way to 177 for eight. England had a steep climb, and they did that in exactly 20 overs on Saturday.
India, who drafted in Rohit Sharma for Ravindra Jadeja, made a slow start, losing Ajinkya Rahane to Jade Dernbach. But the home side recovered well and soon through Virat Kohli, whose sparkling stroke-play ensured that Gautam Gambhir’s struggles wouldn’t affect the scoring.
The left-hander never was in his elements, meandering to a 27-ball 17. But at the other end, Kohli was in sublime touch, and slipped into overdrive immediately after getting beaten off the first ball outside the off-stump by Dernbach.
The Delhi right-hander started the mayhem with two successive fours off Dernbach – a trademark flick off the pads and a crunchy cut past point. But Kohli came into his own when Luke Wright was introduced, milking 20 runs off the medium pacer; the sixth over of the innings saw Kohli creaming Meaker for four boundaries.
India sprinted to 59 for one in the six-over Power Play block, and Kohli’s dismissal in the seventh over pegged India back a little as Luke Wright, Meaker, and James Tredwell pulled the visitors back into the match with a tidy spell.
After Kohli, India lost Gambhir, Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh as they slipped to 108 for five in the 14th over. It wasn’t a comfortable position at all to be in, but India’s most bankable limited overs players – skipper MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina – joined forces precisely at that time.
They might not give you many eye-pleasing moments, but for effectiveness few could match Dhoni and Raina. They rattled 60 runs off 27 balls as India managed to reach a par score at the Wankhede stadium.
Like Kohli picked up Wright for a round of hammering, Raina selected Meaker for caning.
The Uttar Pradesh left-hander looted 20 runs in the 17th over bowled by Meaker, giving India some much needed late momentum.
But the enormity of the chase, nearly nine runs per over, didn’t frighten the Englishmen as they started off in a positive manner. Openers Michael Lumb, who went on to make a fine fifty, and Alex Hales, who was dropped on seven by Parvinder Awana off Ashok Dinda, spurred England to 80 in just over eight overs, and they were right on track at that stage.
However, that man with golden arm came back to haunt them. The Punjab cricketer gave marching orders to Hales, Lumb and Wright to push the course of the match in India’s favour.
But England had nerves and Morgan.
Gambhir c Bresnan b Wright 17
Rahane c Root b Dernbach 3
Kohli lbw Meaker 38
Yuvraj c Root b Wright 4
Rohit b Tredwell 24
(19b, 1x4, 1x6)
Raina (not out) 35
(24b, 3x4, 1x6)
Dhoni c Patel b Bresnan 38
(18b, 3x4, 2x6)
Ashwin c Lumb b Dernbach 1
Chawla (run out) 0
Extras (B-2, LB-4, W-9, NB-2) 17
Total (for 8 wkts, 20 overs) 177
Fall of wickets: 1-7 (Rahane), 2-64 (Kohli), 3-71 (Yuvraj), 4-88 (Gambhir), 5-108 (Rohit), 6-168 (Dhoni), 7-171 (Ashwin), 8-177 (Chawla).
Bowling: Bresnan 4-0-27-1 (w-1), Dernbach 4-0-37-2 (w-3, nb-1), Meaker 4-0-42-1 (w-5), Wright 4-0-38-2 (nb-1), Tredwell 4-0-27-1.
Power Play: 1-6: 59/1.
Lumb st Dhoni b Yuvraj 50
(34b, 6x4, 2x6)
Hales c Dinda b Yuvraj 42
Wright lbw Yuvraj 5
Morgan (not out) 49
(26b, 5x4, 2x6)
Patel c Gambhir b Dinda 9
Butler (not out) 15
(7b, 1x4, 1x6)
Extras (B-1, LB-8, W-2) 11
Total (for 4 wkts, 20 overs) 181
Fall of wickets: 1-80 (Lumb), 2-94 (Wright), 3-123 (Hales), 4-149 (Patel).
Bowling: Dinda 4-0-44-1 (w-2), Awana 4-0-42-0, Ashwin 4-0-38-0, Chawla 4-0-31-0, Yuvraj 4-0-17-3
Power Play: 1-6: 62/0.