Battered England taste win, finally

Battered England taste win, finally

Visitors sign off with six-wkt win in lone T20

Battered England taste win, finally

England's batsman Kevin Pietersen bats during their Twenty20 international cricket match against India in Kolkata on Saturday. AP A pleasant Saturday evening offered no exception as nearly 50,000 spectators bayed and prayed for an Indian victory.

But this time, their collective supplication didn’t bring the desired result, England emerging six-wicket winners in the one-off T20 international to leave Indian shores with one victory. Batting by choice, India produced a shambolic effort to reach 120 for nine in 20 overs, and the World T20 champions hunted down that with a measured chase, Kevin Pietersen, batting with a broken thumb,  leading their charge with a well-crafted fifty.

The hosts’ start was indicative of their struggles to follow as they lost openers Ajinkya Rahane and Robin Uthappa with just five runs on the board. Rahane edged Tim Bresnan, and Craig Kieswetter completed a brilliant diving effort behind the wickets off the fourth ball of the first over, and the Somerset stumper was in action soon to cut short Uthappa’s return to international cricket.

The Kodava lad, who began his stint with a measured tap to third man for a single, attempted another cheeky jab off the impressive Steven Finn for Kieswetter to complete a simple catch. At five for two, India required a solid stand to take the fight back to England. Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina seemed to perform that during their third-wicket alliance.

Raina, in particular, was in good touch, unfurling a couple of big shots – a six over Finn’s head and one through his favoured mid-wicket area. Kohli too was active in this phase, adding three boundaries against his name, and another Indian surge seemed imminent. But the dismissal of Kohli, caught in the deep by a running Alex Hales off Bresnan, changed the course of the match.

Suddenly, the Indian batting, which was as smooth as a sports car throughout the one-day series, seemed to have slipped into freeze mode. The fourth-wicket alliance between Raina and local lad Manoj Tiwary consumed 32 balls for 40, and the latter struggled to adjust to a pitch that didn’t encourage stroke-play.

But full credit should be given to the England bowlers for keeping the host batsmen silent with a tidy spell, and none was more impressive than Finn. The strapping quick was England’s lone bright spot during the one-day series, producing hostile spells. The Middlesex fast bowler didn’t compromise on pace, bowling quick and straight as the slowness of the strip was taken out of the equation. All along the one-day series, Finn had to bowl without any meaningful support from the other end, but it was a different situation on the day. Bresnan, Jade Dernbach, Samit Patel and Ravi Bopara came up with excellent spells as England strangled the Indian batsmen.

Even skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was finally dismissed on this tour when he was run out off the last ball of the innings, couldn’t step on the pedal, and it required a few meaty blows from Ashwin to take India to a respectable total.

Dhoni didn’t hesitate one bit to open with his spinners Ashwin and Yusuf Pathan, and England found the going tough on a sluggish track. Ravindra Jadeja brought the first breakthrough when he jettisoned Kieswetter, and Pathan soon gave the marching orders to Hales, victim of an exceptional diving effort at deep mid-wicket by Rahane.

The first suggestion of an England counterattack came when Pietersen, who added 60 with Patel for the third wicket, employed an audacious switch hit against Pathan that fetched him a maximum. A confident Pietersen has always been the scriptwriter of England’s victories, and he added one more chapter this day.

Score Board

India

Robin Uthappa c Kieswetter b Bresnan 1
Ajinkya Rahane c Kieswetter b Finn 0
Virat Kohli c Hales b Bresnan 15
Suresh Raina c Bairstow b Finn 39
Manoj Tiwary b Patel 15
M S Dhoni run out (Dernbach) 21
Ravindra Jadeja b Finn 0
Yusuf Pathan b Bopara 10
Praveen Kumar b Bopara 0
R Ashwin not out 17
Extras (LB 1, W 1) 2
Total (for 9 wickets in 20 overs) 120
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-5, 3-26, 4-66, 5-74, 6-74, 7-91, 8-91, 9-120
Bowling: Steven Finn 4-0-22-3, Tim Bresnan 4-1-19-2, Jade Dernbach 4-0-26-0, Samit Patel 3-0-13-1, Graeme Swann 2-0-23-0, Ravi Bopara 3-1-16-2. 

England

Alex Hales    c Rahane b Pathan                   11
Craig Kieswetter    c Tiwary b Jadeja              12
Kevin Pietersen    lbw b Raina                   53
Samit Patel    c Tiwary b Kohli                   21
Ravi Bopara    not out                            14
Jonny Bairstow    not out                        2
Extras    (B 1, LB 3, W 4)                        8
Total    (for 4 wickets in 18.4 overs)        121
Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-40, 3-100, 4-106
Bowling: R Ashwin 4-0-20-0, Yusuf Pathan 3-0-34-1, Ravindra Jadeja 4-1-9-1, Praveen Kumar 1-0-13-0, R Vinay Kumar 2-0-19-0, Virat Kohli 2.4-0-13-1, Suresh Raina    2-0-9-1.

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