Cricket- IND VS ENG: 1ST ODI @ Rajkot, 11/02/13

ENG 325/4 (TOSS)
Bell 85
IND 316/9
Yuvraj 60
RESULT: Eng won by 9 runs.
Mom: Tredwell 4/44

MATCH ANALYSIS: It was England who were tagged the UNDERDOGS but they showed us why they are the No.1 ODI team. Here is the analysis of performance of both the teams.

England won the toss and they chose to bat.

Rajkot hosting its first international ODI match proved to be a batting paradise. Average 1st innings score here was 303 and with England having strong batting line-up was sure of surpassing a score of 300. Alastair Cook and Bell started confidently and were very watchful over Bhuveneshwar Kumar. The outfield was very very fast and that frustrated the Indian bowlers. Runs were flowing easily and the run rate was always above 6. Indian opening pace attack of Kumar and Ishant hardly troubled the experienced openers. The openers laid a solid platform finding a boundary of almost every over. With the new rule allowing only 4 fielders outside the ring, spinners found it difficult to contain the English batsmen. Bell brought his own downfall by running a needless run at fine leg and Rahane with a direct run sent Bell packing for a well made 85 off 96 deliveries. The opening partnership was 158, the highest for England against India. Sooner Cook too fell for Raina, top edging it to fine leg. It was Rahane again. Raina and Jadeja dried up the boundaries. The dangerous men Pietersen and Morgan struggled against the duo. Ishant started the powerplay with a great over giving just 1 run. Thereafter Pietersen and Morgan attacked the bowlers. The scoreboard read 218/4 when Pietersen and Morgan departed. The former was brilliantly caught in the long off by Virat while the latter hit Dinda for a six and four in the same over before perishing to a slow ball from him. He took a low return catch. Third umpire was referred as the catch taken was not obscure. Eventually Third umpire gave it as out. From there Samit Patel and Kieswetter took off. The duo managed to score an aggressive 70 off the last six overs. Ishant was hit for 20 in the penultimate over and Kumar for 18 in the final over, giving India a competitive 326 runs as target. Thanks to Samit Patel who hammered a quickfire 40 off 20 balls.
Yes, it was the same target that Dada and Co chased down in the final of the NatWest series in 2005 at “THE MECCA OF CRICKET” Lords. Hence the famous scene, Ganguly removing his shirts off and making distinct and never-seen-before celebrations flashed through my memory.

India began their chase solidly with both Rahane and Gambhir scoring over 6 runs per over. Then there came the spinners, Tredwell and debutant Joe containing the Indian openers. The latter didn’t get the opportunity to bat but bowled good off spin. Just bowled wicket to wicket. Rahane fell to the pressure, trying to go inside out but mishitting the ball to long off. Virat didn’t seem to be in any sort of comfort. He was lacking his usual elegance and style. Gambhir scored a well compiled half century and looked solid for a big innings. But he fell to Tredwell trying to flick it over mid wicket. The game changer Yuvraj came to the crease. Sooner Kohli lacking foot movement fell to Bresnan. A simple catch to the keeper. Kohli’s poor run continued. It was Raina who came next. There was not a cricketing reason found of why Raina came ahead of the skipper. It was a mystery unknown. Yuvraj looked good, scored a half century quickly before getting out in the same fashion as he got out in the NatWest final. He was looking to paddle sweep but got it edged to the hands off fine leg. That was a crucial break for the English. Then India’s best batsmen at present, MSD came to the crease. Raina scored a half century. When about 90 runs were required of the last 10 overs, the duo took the attack. Raina after well set got out cheaply. A return catch to Tredwell, a soft dismissal. Dhoni showed his displeasure this time. Dhoni then hit two huge sixes of Samit Patel bringing down the equation to 69 off last seven. It was Dernbatch who did the trick for England. He sent back both the skipper and Jadeja in the same over. Dhoni picking out a slow ball and hitting it to the throat of long off and Jadeja inside edged a short ball trying to pull. The game was won by England at that time itself. Ashwin and Kumar played some cheeky shots just to reduce the defeat margin. 32 needed off last three. Ashwin hit a boundary over the long on and it provided some excitement to the crowd. The very next ball Finn sent him packing with a bouncer. A fine edge to the keeper. Kumar tried to pull back things but it was too late. 18 needed off the last over. England exactly got 18 off the last over from Kumar. But India couldn’t do it, losing the first match by 9 runs.

The game changer was the Samit Patel for England who made Ishant’s figures worst. Ishant besides bowling two maiden overs and a one run over gave away 86 runs and it cost us the match. He didn’t bowl a single Yorker and so the England batsmen were able to hammer him. In the batting department, India certainly missed Sehwag’s service at the top. He could have been a huge asset especially in a surface like this. Next, Dhoni should bat up the order. It is too late for him to come and do any construction. Hopes he promotes himself ahead of Raina in the coming matches.

(This is my first post. If found with any discrepancies, kindly bear with me. Will avoid it in the future.)

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