India sees off England comfortably




Success might have eluded him in Test cricket, but when it came to cricket in coloured clothing, Yuvraj Singh was the undisputed master of the game. India won the first Twenty20 International against England in Pune by five wickets, but while India were the superior side on the whole, it was Yuvraj Singh who made the difference with both bat and ball.

India holds in Pune

India’s golden boy Yuvraj Singh once again proved that he is a valuable asset to the Indian cricket team in the shorter versions of game by his all-round performance in Pune that helped India to a comfortable win over England. India restricted the tourists to 157-6 from their 20 overs and routed them by 5 wickets and with 13 balls remaining.

India sees off England comfortably

India sees off England comfortably

Yuvraj shinned with both, first ball and then by bat, dismantling England’s top order, which at a stage threatened India with a pompous score, taking 3 for 19 runs in his 4 overs and then powered a quick fire innings that helped India to ease its nervous with 38 runs of 21 balls with a strike rate of just over 180. Yuvraj was well assisted by Ashwin, Raina and Dhoni in taking India through.

England starts with a bang

In the first ever international match played at the Subrata Roy Stadium in Pune, India won the toss and put in England to bat first on a beautiful pitch which had pace and bounce on it. England started off in a lofty manner, despite losing an early wicket they took Indian bowlers for 68 runs in just 7 overs, amidst the second over by Ashwin being an expert maiden.

Alex Hales got the tourists off to a flyer by owing the first few overs. 7 fours and 2 sixes flew off his blade as he made unversed Indian bowling attack look pedestrian. Wright joined the fun and muscled Indian bowlers all around the park, slowly taking the game away from India’s reach.

Dhoni made interesting bowling changes to find a way to stall runs and get the second break through, using as many as 7 bowlers in first 10 overs.

Yuvraj spell is a gold dust

But it was the introduction of Yuvraj to the attack that changed the game in India’s favor, who bowled clever slow off spin with operative variations.

He first dismissed Wright at the score of 34 with a nice and slow turning delivery, who could not reach to the ball and gave it in the hands of Rahane at long off.

Hales played a beauteous innings of 56 of just 35 balls before misjudging a clever delivery from Yuvraj that rattled his stumps.

Wright’s dismissal brought captain Eoin Morgan who  played an irrational shot to get himself get caught at long on, rewarding Yuvraj with his third wicket. Yuvraj’s triple-blow sucked out the momentum from the innings, and by the end of his fine spell the run-rate was down to around seven-and-a-half, turning the tables in India’s favor.

India lets England get away

At the mark of 100 in just 12.3 overs the innings never really recovered, even though Jos Buttler clubbed three sixes and a four in an unbeaten 33 from 21 balls and Samit Patel pitched in with a 22 ball 24.

Ashok Dinda delivered the perfect 19th over where he conceded just two runs and had Patel caught at the long-off and Tim Bresnan for a duck, caught at the midwicket boundary to twitch England back.

But Dinda’s spirited work was undone by debutant Parvinder Awana in the final over who exhibited mediocre bowling, tolerating two successive sixes by Buttler, and letting England pass 150 mark and to the final score of 157 for 6.

However, England’s score appeared to be 15-20 runs short on sound batting pitch.

Piyush Chawala was India’s second worst bowler in terms of figures but seemed the worst and was suitably punished for bowling the wrong line again and again. His poor form not just raises questions on his game but also the selector’s judgment.

India bats suitably

Defending a makeable target the Indian reply started on a positive and an offensive mode with Rahane, finally getting a chance, taking the initiative with two big sixes early on. Gautam Gambhir hit a couple of sweet boundaries too as India reached 41 without loss by the end of the fourth over.

Wandering Dernbach bowled wrong line, granting three wides in the first over went for 21 in his first two overs, clearly frustrated before Stuart Meaker brought some discipline to England’s attack and stalled run flow.

A crazy Tim Bresnan over saw Gambhir and Rahane walking back to pavilion off their crazy shots, spooning easy catches and a drop catch of Kohli, put down by  Meaker at short long leg. Gambhir and Rahane both failed miserably to utilize a brisk start and contributed 16 and 19 respectively with over a run per ball.

Kohli and Yuvraj played with the intent of taking the scoreboard in a comfortable position before going over the top with big strokes.

And then came Yuvraj’s dashing six-four-six combination off Danny Briggs in the eighth over, all to his favorite midwicket region before nestling into Meaker at deep square-leg of Wright’s ball.

Kohli timed beautifully before the ball deceived him with the low bounce, dragging back on to his stumps while he tried to pull Meaker, scoring 21 runs off 17 balls.

Morgan missed run out chance of Kohli and Dhoni before finally managing to get Raina out of his crease but till then it was too little, too late for England. India was almost home, courtesy of final blows in typical T20 style by Dhoni and Raina who combined between them 3 fours and a six and soon hurried India to a relatively easy win, with 5 wickets and 13 balls spare.

English bowlers had a mediocre day, none rising to the occasion; bowled poor line, and gave away 14 extra runs. Fielders too provided not much of assistance.

Positive signs for India

Gambhir and Raina looked in a fine touch and with Dhoni and Kohli continuing their forms from the last Test match and Yuvraj marking a comeback with his stirring performance today are positive signs for the Indian team. Apart from last over of England’s innings where India displayed lack of ruthlessness, that has run right through the entire tour against England India did everything suitably and properly.

Though it was an inexperienced and relatively unfamiliar English side that India subjugated, this win might just be the prelude to the good times ahead. If India continues the good work in the next game and go on to win it that’ll surely boost the morale of the team and with the inclusion of other seniors like Sachin Tendulkar, etc. before ODIs with Pakistan begin the confidence and fight in the players is likely to go up. Amen!

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