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338: England = India

cricket Updated: Feb 28, 2011 01:29 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The national anthem being played in front of a packed house can charge one up. If nothing else, it ignites a passion that few stimulants can. The Indians certainly seemed to be energised by that.

Just that England turned out to be an equally inspired lot, almost pulling off the biggest successful chase in World Cup history.

The Chinnaswamy Stadium was a hub of festivities on Sunday as the spectators turned the stadium into a cauldron of emotions and colours.

After India closed their innings at what looked like an impregnable total, England appeared set to dwarf it though before the match finished in a scintillating tie.

The first hint of England's spirited reply came off the first ball of their innings. Zaheer Khan erred in length and Andrew Strauss flicked the ball to the fence. The England skipper was at the helm of the chase and the effortless manner he anchored the pursuit was a highlight of the match before the dramatic close.

Contrary to popular notions in case of such a big chase, the English reply was characterised by sensible batting. Judicious in shot selection, they were calculated in their approach and treated the Indian attack with an astonishing amount of disdain even after the top guns were gone.

Zak the ripper
After going for 40 in his first five overs, Zaheer almost turned the match when disconsolate fans were leaving the stadium cursing their stars. The length he was trying to strike in vain came back and the match appeared to have turned for good in two overs when Zaheer ripped the heart out of the English chase. In the end Swann and Ajmal Shahzad kept their nerves as they knocked off 13 in the final over to level the contest.

World Cup record
The younger guys in the team contributed, but failed to get bigger scores after playing themselves in. It was up to Sachin Tendulkar to once again anchor the innings. After a quiet start, when he let Virender Sehwag take care of the bowling, the master for many years was wearing several hats. From being quiet early on, playing the aggressor in the middle overs, to cutting loose later, Tendulkar was burning bright.

Tendulkar kept walking towards the leg umpire after playing out a dot ball, seemingly telling himself that things were to be done differently. And then came the moments of explosion. Charging down the track against the slower bowlers, Tendulkar was giving it a big, hard go. His 47th ODI century and fifth in the World Cup made him the player with maximum three-figure knocks in the history of the competition. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/28_02_11_Metro22c.jpg

Hit the spinners
England came into this match with a the intention of using the spinners to good effect. Apart from the off-spin of Graeme Swann, there was left-arm Michael Yardy. The Indians confronted them with a clear idea to dominate. They were stepping out and looking to hit them over the top. On most occasions, they made good connection with suitable effect.

But then, their principal spinner Graeme Swann made a big impact in the end.