India and England finally dished out a thrilling one-day spectacle at the Lord's on Sunday. There was little to separate the teams in the fourth game and it proved impossible to predict the winner till the last over. Heightening the drama were rain interruptions as the gripping match entered the last leg.
Neither team deserved to lose, and quite fittingly, and the game ended in a tie. England were 270 for eight after 48.5 overs when a sharp downpour ended the contest. It was on par with the Duckworth-Lewis equation. At that moment, England required 11 off seven balls to surpass India's total of 280 for five.
Best result so far
It was India's best result of the tour after losing all their earlier games to England. It was the second tie between the two teams this year with their World Cup match in Bangalore also ending in a tie.
MS Dhoni's team must have fancied their chances of winning when England began their batting powerplay in the 45th over of the innings. The home team were under real pressure when they opted for it. The score at that time was 233 for six, and they needed 48 off 36 balls. With the rain causing doubts, England batsmen also had to figure out the Duckworth Lewis equation. Swann and Bopara played with calm heads to get their team back into the game with a 50-run partnership off 39 balls.
Just when the game looked to be in England's pocket, Munaf Patel turned it around by running out Swann and then having Bopara caught at midwicket. The two wickets in two balls helped India tie on the D/L rule.
England's hero was Bopara, who paced his innings beautifully and anchored the tough chase with a knock of 96.
Interestingly, the decisive part of both the innings proved to be the batting powerplay overs. Earlier, India too owed their revival to the daredevilry shown by Dhoni and Suresh Raina, who capitalised on the field restrictions between the 43rd to 48th overs.
It's been the only positive gained so far under Duncan Fletcher. At the 2011 World Cup, the Indian team just didn't have a clue about dealing with the batting powerplay. They didn't know when to take it and didn't know how much to attack.
In the fourth one-dayer at Lord's, India were 185 for four in 42 overs when skipper Dhoni decided to take the powerplay. All hopes of reaching a competitive total depended on how India used that particular period of field restrictions.
To the delight of the Indian supporters, Raina and Dhoni executed their charge to perfection. England captain Alastair Cook looked on helplessly as the fifth-wicket pair plundered runs at will to power their team to a total of 280 for five.
The five overs had yielded 58 runs in which Dhoni and Raina had hit six fours and two sixes and the total had been raised to 243 for four.
The same bowlers, who had looked unplayable at the start of the innings, didn't have a clue where to bowl their next ball as Dhoni and Raina took them on with bold, big strokes.
At the Oval too, India had done well in the powerplay, scoring 51 runs for the loss of one wicket in the period from 44 to 48 overs.
With the momentum with them, Dhoni and Raina continued the massacre in the last three overs to finish the innings strongly.
Even the man of the match award was shared between Raina and Bopara.