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On an even keel: The making of a thriller

With fortunes swinging badly, India almost seemed to have won it but Bresnan inched England closer with the bat, landing some lusty blows.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2011 01:45 IST

It’s a tie, only fourth in WC history
With fortunes swinging badly, India almost seemed to have won it but Bresnan inched England closer with the bat, landing some lusty blows. Left to score 14 runs for a win, it still appeared a bit titled in favour of India as Munaf Patel began the final over. However, Ajmal Shahzad hit a six off third delivery. England needed five runs off three deliveries and eventually two to get off the final delivery. Although Munaf Patel bowled a sharp delivery England squeaked through for a single to level the game.

Zaheer comes back with a bang
Like he has showed time and again, Zaheer finally came back with England cruising. And he pulled off the unthinkable, first removing Bell who miscued to extra cover. He then speared in a Yorker to trap Strauss leg before and regain the initiative for India. Suddenly England batsmen came under pressure and it was not long before the pressure told as both Collingwood and Matt Prior were out attempting runs in the batting powerplay. There was a spring in the step of the Indian fielders now, and the crowd, rendered silent until then, began shouting themselves hoarse backing the home team again.

Strauss the master, dhoni defensive
The England skipper first played himself in, aware that on slow sub-continent pitches preserving wickets would be crucial to mount a serious chase. Kevin Pietersen led the early attack on the Indian bowlers, for whom spearhead Zaheer Khan surprisingly looked subdued. With Strauss beginning to play shots all around the wicket and Bell giving him support, Dhoni became defensive. The Indian fielding fell sharply with their bowlers, including Harbhajan.

Bresnan blows and Yuvi show
India should have scored much more than they did, but they appeared to have taken their foot off the pedal as wickets tumbled one after another in the final overs.

Having dominated the bowling attack, they lost focus as paceman Tim Bresnan struck regular blows. The burly bowler took four wickets at that stage and effected a run out as India’s last seven wickets tumbled for 33 runs in the space of five overs.

Until then hard-hitting Yuvraj Singh had demonstrated a return to his devastating form. Despite his poor form, he was sent at No. 4 and the left-hander repaid the faith shown in him to hit a sparkling half-century.

Tendulkar makes slow England pay
When you are up against the best of the best, the chances would be few and far between. When you are up against an opening partnership as powerful as Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, you can’t afford to miss any. The England bowlers started well but Strauss couldn’t get his fielding right. Sehwag led the way early on before Tendulkar took over, anchoring the innings until the 39th over. Tendulkar raised a crucial partnership with Gautam Gambhir. The Indian batsmen had their gameplan sorted out; they knew Graeme Swann would be the dangerman and the pair never allowed him to settle down.