| Yuvraj Singh celebrates the wicket of Alex Hales with Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane, on Saturday. (PTI) |
Mumbai: With the licence of sounding overused, one can say Ashok Dinda did a Chetan Sharma on Saturday.
The second T20 International between India and England went down to the wires, with hosts coming up as the second best.
A last-ball finish in any match is, perhaps, the maximum possible entertainment. But that doesn’t hold true if the home team end on the losing side.
As England won by six wickets, via a last-ball six, the Wankhede was stunned to silence. The series was shared 1-1 and India will now have to wait till January, when England will be returning to the subcontinent for the one-day series.
Chasing a 178-run target wasn’t going to be easy. But then, a good start is often half the battle won and the England openers put on an 80-run partnership to set the sail.
Still, India had somehow managed to drag the match till the last over… The last ball to be precise. Dinda was entrusted with the ball and England needed nine runs off it for a victory.
India couldn’t afford to present boundaries or over-boundaries. For the first five balls, things went according to India’s plan. 1, 1, 1, 2, 1 — Dinda was ‘right’ on the ball. With three needed from the last delivery, that England needed something extraordinary to win. Dinda, too, needed an extraordinary delivery to not let England captain Eoin Morgan swing his arms. With the pressure having a blanket effect, someone had to crumble. Dinda did.
His attempted yorker turned out to be a fuller delivery and Morgan sent it right back the bowler’s head for a six. Match over. Also over were India’s dreams… First of winning the series and ending the year on some sort of high. Second, the dream of making it to the No.1 spot in T20s — India needed to win all four T20s against England and Pakistan.
Morgan, the Man of the Match, ended on an unbeaten 49. Michael Lumb (50) and Alex Hales (43) played equally important knocks.
For India, Man of the Series Yuvraj Singh was once again successful with the ball, claiming three wickets for just 17 runs.
The Wankhede, by the way, remained India’s unlucky venue. They were grounded to dust here in the Test series and now, in the T20s, they were just swept away, like dust if one may say so.
England, expectedly, chose to bowl first after winning the toss.
Thanks to Mahendra Singh Dhoni (38), Virat Kohli (38) and Suresh Raina (34 ..), they managed to put up a pretty decent total of 177 for eight despite beginning disastrously.
Jade Dernbach got rid of opener Ajinkya Rahane as early as the second over of the evening. Rahane’s T20 ‘style’ was very much responsible for his dismissal. He swung his bat wildly at an outside the off-stump delivery, the resulting outside edge flying straight to the third man for an easy catch.
New man in, Kohli, however looked at ease and had the necessary mindset to not let the setback affect the scoring rate. He slammed Dernbach for two fours in the fourth over to break the shackles.
But it was actually the sixth over of the day that brought India back in the match, courtesy Kohli. Luke Wright was at the receiving end of Kohli’s fury. The Indian batsman despatched Wright for four fours, his over conceding 20 runs.
Unfortunately, Kohli, who was looking fluent, was dismissed in the very next over. After scoring 38 runs off just 19 balls, Kohli missed the line of a Stuart Meaker delivery and was trapped in front.
Replays though showed that the ball might have been heading down the leg side and, probably, would have missed the leg stump.
Yuvraj didn’t last long as he was dismissed for a meagre four.
After 10 overs, India had scored 86 for three.
But Gautam Gambhir’s extremely un-T20-like innings — 17 off 27 balls — narrated that not everything was all right for India.
From the 10th to 15th over, India garnered just 28 runs and thus had lost the nerve of the contest.