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England clinch last-ball thriller

Sloppy out-fielding cost India dearly as Dainelle was first allowed to steal two runs off the fourth ball and then gifted victory when Gauhar missed the run out chance, reports Abhijeet Kulkarni.

cricket Updated: Mar 05, 2010 01:46 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Hindustan Times
England clinch last-ball thriller

Gauhar Sultana sank to her knees and covered her face after the final run was scored, unable to digest the fact that she had missed an opportunity to become the star of the day.

The 21-year-old had to knock down the stumps at the non-striker’s end from about three feet off her own bowling.

Nicky Shaw had pushed the ball to the left of Gauhar and set off for a run that would have tied the game.

But her throw missed the stumps and the ball rolled to long on, allowing the Englishwomen to scamper for two runs and a last-ball two-wicket victory in the first Twenty20 international at the BKC Complex on Thursday. A close finish looked improbable when Jenny Gunn (34 off 24 balls) and Dainelle Hazell (16 off 14 balls) looked to bat India out and just six runs were needed from the final over.

However, the latter was run out off the first ball and Jenny gave India skipper Jhulan Goswami a simple catch off the third ball with just two runs added to the total.

But sloppy out-fielding cost India dearly as Dainelle was first allowed to steal two runs off the fourth ball and then gifted victory when Gauhar missed the run out chance.

Earlier, India had scored 125 for 5 in their stipulated 20 overs after being put in. Mithali Raj top scored with a 26-ball 30 but India could never up the tempo. England looked comfortable with the chase till skipper Charlotte Edwards (32-ball 28) was at the crease.

But Gauhar took a diving catch at midwicket to dismiss the experienced campaigner and spinner Soniya Dabir (3/23) tightened the noose around the visitors.

It looked like going down to the wire when Jenny and Dainelle scored 16 off Jhulan’s final over to bring the equation down to 12-balls, 11 runs.

Jhulan admitted it was her over that tilted the balance in England’s favour but refused to blame Gauhar for the last ball error.

Brief scores: India 125 for 5 in 20 overs (Mithali Raj 30).

England 126 for 8 in 20 overs (Jennifer Gunn 34; Soniya Dabir 3 for 23).