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Old enough to be ?man of the match?

?ARE YOU old enough to ride this bike,? former England skipper Mike Atherton asked Suresh Raina jovially soon after the young UPite was named ?man of the match? for his scintillating performance which helped India take a 2-0 lead in the ODI series against England at Faridabad on Friday.

india Updated: Apr 01, 2006 01:56 IST

“ARE YOU old enough to ride this bike,” former England skipper Mike Atherton asked Suresh Raina jovially soon after the young UPite was named ‘man of the match’ for his scintillating performance which helped India take a 2-0 lead in the ODI series against England at Faridabad on Friday.

Raina laughed it off as if to say: “I am old enough to be man of the match.” It was no ordinary feat. Raina, just 19, made all the difference –– for India’s victory and England’s loss. 

His fascinating unbeaten 81, also his best so far in the international arena, in 89 balls with eight fours and a six, not only fashioned India’s four-wicket win against Ashes winners, but also played spoilsport for Andrew Flintoff’s 100th ODI appearance party.

An inmate of the government-run Gomti Nagar Cricket Hostel here, Raina, who made his debut for India in the July 2005, and scored his previous best 39 against Sri Lanka at Dambula, was looking for a big knock much before the start of the ODI series.

"It was a good opportunity for me to bat on after we lost the top five wickets for 92 in the 25th over itself,” said Raina over phone from Faridabad, adding, “We (myself and Dhoni) had a plan to keep our cool and I am happy that our plan clicked.” “He (Dhoni) is a great player and he kept encouraging me throughout the innings, which helped me to play my shots,” said Raina, who hails from Muradnagar (Ghaziabad). About his eye-catching scoop-shot during his stay today, Raina confessed that he had no such plan, but he made the improvisation as per demand of the situation.

Raina also added a valuable 118-run sixth wicket partnership with MS Dhoni in this match. Later, he was awarded Rs 50,000 and a TVS bike for his maiden MoM feat.