Yuvi, Dhoni flatten England

Cricket Second ODI : Veterans slam tons to guide India to series win; visitors put up spirited chase

Yuvi, Dhoni flatten England

Acclaimed performers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh rolled back the years in brilliant fashion but their classic rescue act had almost gone in vain before India managed to hold their nerve and pip a valiant England here on Thursday. 

The dashing Yuvraj (150, 127b, 21x4, 3x6), recalled to the ODI fold after a gap of three years, and ace finisher Dhoni (134, 122b, 10x4, 6x6), undergoing a prolonged lean patch since the start of 2016, plundered centuries in a sensational 256-run association to lift India out of deep trouble at the start and power them to 381/6 at the Barabati Stadium.

England then fought back sensationally in their chase and very nearly threatened to pull off a heroic victory on a shirtfront of a track but the Indians emerged unscathed in the high-octane chase. India eventually eked out a 15-run win to take an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Just like in the opening ODI at Pune on Sunday, India found themselves under the gun as England made quick inroads to silence the sold-out crowd. K L Rahul, who kick-started the match with a glistening cover-driven four, perished in the first ball of the third over for a second straight single-digit score. Kohli, arriving to a rapturous welcome that only multiplied a thousand fold when he creamed two straight boundaries, fell off the fifth ball he faced as India were reduced to 22/2.

It soon became 25/3 when an out-of-sorts Shikhar Dhawan played on, leaving old warhorses Yuvraj and Dhoni to not only do the repair work but ensure India put up decent total on board. Masters of many a battle, both showed that the fire and passion is still burning bright inside them.

While Dhoni typically took his time, grinding out singles and picking the occasional boundaries, Yuvraj was in belligerent mood. England bowlers, keeping up their pre-match promise, tried to bowl a lot of short balls but Yuvraj was game for it, smacking them for boundaries with utter disdain.

Striking the ball as sweet as ever, Yuvraj, after completing his half-century, then decided to deal predominantly in boundaries. Balls just kept disappearing to all parts of the ground as the fans brought the roof down and England bowlers struggled with their lines and lengths in the boisterous atmosphere.

Yuvraj then brought up his 14th century and first since the 2011 World Cup, celebrating the moment by the beating the handle of bat to his chest and showing that he’s still got plenty of heart and passion left. After reaching the landmark, the 35-year-old then upped the gears further to flatten a beleaguered England.

Dhoni, barring a dropped chance on 43, kept motoring along smoothly and was helped by the fact that his partner at the other end was going all guns blazing. Nearing his century, Dhoni too started to open his big shoulders as England struggled to contain the deluge.

Yuvraj departed after making his career best score but the tempo of the Indian innings only went several notches higher as incoming Kedar Jadhav and thereafter Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja just swung at everything from the first ball.

India eventually posted the highest score at Barabati and it needed some chasing from England. With the pitch remaining true and plenty of big-hitting batsmen in their ranks, England had the ammunition to negate the heroics of Yuvraj and Dhoni. England, led brilliantly by their skipper Eoin Morgan 102 (129b, 6x4, 5x6), looked like pulling off the unthinkable as batsmen after batsmen teed off without fear. They fought hard till the end before falling at the doorstep of victory.

score board

INDIA
Rahul c Stokes b Woakes    5
(5b, 1x4)
Dhawan b Woakes    11
(15b, 2x4)
Kohli c Stokes b Woakes    8
(5b, 2x4)
Yuvraj c Buttler b Woakes    150
(127b, 21x4, 3x6)
Dhoni c Willey b Plunkett    134
(122b, 10x4, 6x6)
Jadhav c Ball b Plunkett    22
(10b, 3x4, 1x6)
Pandya (not out)    19
(9b, 2x4, 1x6)
Jadeja (not out)    16
(8b, 1x4, 1x6)
Extras (B-4, LB-2, W-9, NB-1)    16
Total (for 6 wkts, 50 overs)    381
Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Rahul), 2-22 (Kohli), 3-25 (Dhawan), 4-281 (Yuvraj), 5-323 (Jadhav), 6-358 (Dhoni).
Bowling: Woakes 10-3-60-4, Willey 5-0-32-0 (w-1), Ball 10-0-80-0 (w-2), Plunkett 10-1-91-2 (nb-1, w-4), Sto­k­es 9-0-79-0 (w-1), Ali 6-0-33-0 (w-1).
ENGLAND
Roy b Jadeja    82
(73b, 9x4, 2x6)
Hales c Dhoni b Bumrah    14
(12b, 3x4)
Root c Kohli b Ashwin    54
(55b, 8x4)
Morgan (run out)    102
(81b, 6x4, 5x6)
Stokes b Ashwin    1
(3b)
Buttler st Dhoni b Ashwin    10
(9b, 1x4)
Ali b Bhuvneshwar    55
(43b, 6x4)
Woakes b Bumrah    5
(4b, 1x4)
Plunkett (not out)    26
(17b, 5x4)
Willey (not out)    5
(8b)
Extras (LB-7, W-4, NB-1)    12
Total (for 8 wkts, 50 overs)    366
Fall of wickets: 1-28 (Hales), 2-128 (Root), 3-170 (Roy), 4-173 (Stokes), 5-206 (Buttler), 6-299 (Ali), 7-304 (Woakes), 8-354 (Morgan).

Bowling: Bhuvneshwar 10-1-63-1, Bumrah 9-0-81-2 (nb-1, w-2), Jadeja 10-0-45-1, Pandya 6-0-60-0, Ashwin 10-0-65-3, Jadhav 5-0-45-0.
Third & final ODI: Jan 22nd, Kolkata


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