CRICKET / Dhoni hits the winning runs in front of an adoring home crowd
India romped to a convincing seven-wicket victory over England at the JSCA International Stadium Complex here on Saturday to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match One-Day International series.
The man who fashioned the win was Virat Kohli whose splendid unbeaten 77 earned him the Man-of-the-Match award.
Set a target of 156, India got off to a poor start with Ajinkya Rahane departing to a beauty from Steven Finn that uprooted his off-stump. But Kohli and Gautam Gambhir settled down to collar the attack with some solid strokes. After Gambhir’s dismissal, Kohli and Yuvraj Singh made sure the victory was India’s.
Dhoni, promoting himself ahead of Suresh Raina, pulled Finn to the fine-leg fence to take India to 157 in 28.1 overs for the loss of three wickets.
Meanwhile, the National selectors decided not to make any changes for the matches in Mohali on January 23 and Dharamshala on January 27.
The highlight of the match was clearly Kohli’s entertaining knock. After being rapped on the pad by Finn off the first ball he faced, Kohli produced a gem. The way he pulled and flicked Jade Dernbach in the sixth over gave a clear indication of his intentions.
He did not look back except once when he a Finn bouncer flew to the boundary over the wicketkeeper after hitting his bat. Otherwise the Delhi player was in total control and played some terrific shots.
Yuvraj Singh complemented his younger colleague with some blazing hits to the fence.
Two important stands
There were two important partnerships. Gambhir and Kohli put on 67 for the second wicket in 14.4 overs and Kohli and Yuvraj added 66 for the third in just eight overs.
Earlier, put in, England was restricted to 155 in 42.2 overs.
Except for Kevin Pietersen, who was given caught behind by umpire K. Ravi in a doubtful decision, the rest of the batsmen simply self-destructed.
Opening bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed bowled very well, with the latter generating lively pace.
The Bengal pacer got the first breakthrough trapping Cook leg before for 17, the batsman playing across to a slightly short of length delivery and being beaten by pace.Supremely confident, Kevin Pietersen found his rhythm right away and stroked beautifully. Ian Bell held up the other end, more as an anchor rather than an aggressor.
The second-wicket pair was settling down and looked ominous when Pietersen’s 17-run innings came to an abrupt end.England lost Bell at the same score of 68 in the 16th over.
The opener tried to square-cut an incoming Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivery and Dhoni, standing up to the stumps, snapped up the snick.
Joe Root and Eoin Morgan had the huge burden of rescuing England. Morgan began with a flourish but found Ishant Sharma bowling one of his best spells in recent times.
After scratching around for 30 balls, Morgan top-edged a reverse sweep off R. Ashwin straight to Yuvraj. England was in deep trouble.Craig Kieswetter and Samit Patel left quickly failing to tackle Jadeja’s straighter ones to leave England struggling at 98 for six before Root and Tim Bresnan, who came in for Chris Woakes, produced the best part of the England innings with an association of 47 runs for the seventh wicket in 11.4 overs.
Once Root fell for 39 (57b, 3x4) and Bresnan at the total of 145, it was all over for England.
The Indian bowlers were rewarded for their disciplined effort, with Ravindra Jadeja returning the best analysis of three for 19 in 6.2 overs.
Ashwin and Ishant picked up two wickets apiece, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami and Raina had a wicket each.