Sunday, February 27, 2011

World Cup: India-England thriller ends in a tie

BANGALORE: This was a game both India and England deserved to lose but in the end it was a tie. If the Indians seemed listless while defending a more than healthy 338, the English after being in a position to spoil the Indian party on a pitch on which the expected demons did not surface, suddenly seemed to have invoked the devil himself. In the end what transpired was the fourth ever tie in the history of the World Cup.

Scorecard Photos Points Table 

The match swayed like a pendulum. The Indian total of 338, set up by a record fifth World Cup ton from Sachin Tendulkar, looked good enough at the break, more so as the hosts had gone in with two spinners. England captain Andrew Strauss had different ideas as he set about all but obfuscating Tendulkar's knock with his maiden World Cup ton.

Then came the batting Powerplay. Suddenly from an impregnable 280/2 from 43 overs, when Strauss (158, 145b, 18x4, 1x6) and Bell (69, 71b, 4x4, 1x6) were going strong with a 170-run stand off 156 balls, things turned upside down. Zaheer Khan, hit around in his first two spells and held back by Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the Powerplay, got two in two, sending back Bell and Strauss to open up the game again.

Suddenly the Indians were pumped up, as the English middle and late order collapsed. But then two sixes, one each by Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan, both off Piyush Chawla's final over, the penultimate one of the innings, again changed the game. Fifteen had come from that over leaving 14 required from the last to be bowled by Munaf Patel. With number 10 Ajmal Shazad on strike, the match looked to be in India's grasp, but the drama wasn't over by any means. A solid six and some hurriedly run singles brought the equation to two runs off the ball. They got one and the Bangalore crowd, some of whom had left early seeing India's chances all but gone, got what they expected least. A tie!

Before that, the Indians had got most things right. Having decided to play with two spinners in Harbhajan Singh and Chawla, it was important that Dhoni won the toss and allowed his spinners the second use of the pitch. That part went along the script as did the batting, with the top-order firing for the second match in succession. It was even better that the middle-order too got a chance to show their wares and they didn't do too badly either.

Only Tim Bresnan stood up and got noticed among English bowlers. Having dismissed the fortuitous as well as dangerous-looking Sehwag off his fifth ball, Bresnan came back at the death, to keep the Indians from running away to a total in excess of 350. His final analysis of 10-1-48-5 was true reflection of his showing on the afternoon.

No other English bowler went under five an over, with James Anderson in real danger of going for twice that. Every Indian batsman got stuck into him. Tendulkar and Gambhir used his wayward line and length to full effect. That Tendulkar (120, 115b, 10x4, 5x6) picked boundaries even off his better deliveries, ensured that it was not to be Anderson's day.

Once Sehwag (35, 26b, 6x4) had gone, poking at Bresnan for wicketkeeper Matt Prior to bring off a fine one-handed catch diving to his right, the right-left pair of Tendulkar and Gambhir (51, 61b, 5x4) took charge. Without looking in any sort of hurry, the master-blaster milked the bowlers before assaulting them.

The innings wasn't just about Tendulkar and Gambhir though, even if their 134-run second wicket stand set it up. There was also Yuvraj Singh, rightly promoted ahead of Kohli seeing that it was the 30th over, and Dhoni, whose 25-ball 31 went almost unnoticed. Yuvraj (58, 50b, 9x4) wasn't at his fluent best but who knows this knock could well be the launching pad for more to come.

Warne predicted it 8 hours ago 

Shane Warne was bang on target when before the start of the match he Tweeted saying "Looking forward to the game between India and England today. My prediction... a tie." And the cracker of a contest which saw 676 runs being scored did actually end up in a tie, making Warne's prediction come true.

Read more: World Cup: India-England thriller ends in a tie - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/cricket-world-cup-2011/news/World-Cup-India-England-thriller-ends-in-a-tie/articleshow/7585674.cms#ixzz1FCirImrX

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