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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Cricket

Quick gun Morgan saves the day for England
Anand Sachar
Mumbai, December 22, 2012
First Published: 23:53 IST(22/12/2012)
Last Updated: 23:55 IST(22/12/2012)

The game might have witnessed a nail-biting finish but a loss can still have an adverse effect, especially on a team that has not been on the victorious side too often in the recent past.

While India did well to stretch the game into the last over, England handed the hosts another loss. In the end, an Eoin Morgan six off the last ball of the innings sealed the series-levelling six-wicket victory for the visitors.

With nine runs required off the last six balls, MS Dhoni handed the ball to Ashoke Dinda. The pacer restricted the first five balls to singles, but the English captain struck a massive six to breach the 178-run target.

Had it not been for a brief spell of heroics from Yuvraj Singh, the game would have finished much earlier. In today's competitive day and age, it is imperative to be consistent in more than one skill. Though Yuvraj's primary role is to pile on the runs, it was his spin that placed India in strong position for the second time in two games.

Before the start of the England series, Yuvraj had hoped that his left-arm spin would add value to the attack. In the second game, he proved to be more than a mere pie-chucker, with another fine display of bowing.

Before the start of the ninth over, England seemed to be in a hurry to head home for Christmas. That is when the crowd started chanting “Yuvraj, Yuvraj”. The India skipper did exactly that and Yuvraj wasted little time in striking back. After he had Michael Lumb stumped, Yuvraj acknowledged the crowd's support.

Soon, the all-rounder packed off Luke Wright and Alex Hales, ensuring that India stayed alive in the contest. However, Morgan was at his innovative best, as he kept pushing his team towards the target. Finally, Jos Buttler supported his captain, as the tourists ended a historic tour on a high.

Earlier, an initial burst from Virat Kohli and a late push from Suresh Raina and Dhoni helped India finish on 177 for eight. It was after the English pacers had managed to keep the scoring rate in check.

Whatever time of the day, the Wankhede pitch usually assists pacers. And, it was not lost on the England fast bowlers.

Late surge

It was left to Kohli, who made good use of his quick feet movement, to provide India with the initial thrust.

There seemed to be a ploy to target the heads of the India batsmen in the early overs, as England bowlers constantly banged the ball short. While the strategy seemed to be working to start with, it proved counter-productive once Kohli moved into attack mode.

Dhoni and Raina provided the much-needed late surge, where 63 runs came off the last five overs.

However, the visiting bowlers were ably supported by their fielders. The fielders were seen diving around saving runs, which proved to be crucial in the end in such a tight game.


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