Ice-Man Morgan Keeps His Cool As England Win

Ice-Man Morgan Keeps His Cool As England Win
Ice-Man Morgan Keeps His Cool As England Win
©REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte. Picture Supplied by Action Images

England 181-4 (Lumb 50, Morgan 49no) beat
India 177-8 (Dhoni 38) by 6 wickets
Second Twenty20 International, Mumbai
Report by Daniel Grummitt

England captain Eoin Morgan hit the last ball for six to help level the two-match Twenty20 series against India.

The game had looked to be drifting away from the tourists as Yuvraj Singh - their tormentor with the ball from game one - again took three wickets to partly undo the good work done by Michael Lumb and Alex Hales.

India’s innings had earlier followed a pattern very similar to England’s two days ago as Virat Kohli gave them a good start as Hales had done; James Tredwell pegged them back a la Yuvraj; and MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina provided a couple of big overs towards the end as Jos Buttler had in Pune.

England’s opening pair of Michael Lumb and Alex Hales gave their side a rollicking start as they set off in pursuit of India’s 177 for eight. India captain, MS Dhoni, made the unusual decision to open with both young seamers, Ashok Dinda and Parvinder Awana - a move which backfired spectacularly and helped England reach 62 for none at the end of the powerplay. 

Lumb top-edged a couple of pull shots early on, but soon settled and benefited from the short pitched ploy which all of the fast bowlers on both sides had employed throughout the day with poor results. He faced the majority of the deliveries during his opening stand of 80 with Hales and went onto make his maiden international fifty before being stumped off Yuvraj to begin the mid-innings wobble.

Luke Wright followed Lumb back in Yuvraj’s second over and, when Hales became Yuvraj’s third victim in the 15th over to end his unflustered innings of 42 off 33 balls, the required rate was over ten an over.

Morgan took his time to get going and had to contend with the loss of Samit Patel for nine, but he and Jos Buttler managed to hit a boundary whenever the rate looked as though it might be about to get out of hand. Nothing demonstrated this better than when, with 15 needed off seven balls, Buttler dispatched the final ball from the hapless Awana for six. Morgan managed to repeat the trick exactly six balls later off Dinda to give England the unexpected win.

India had been reliant on a pair of sublime 38s from Dhoni and Kohli to get up to a score that was considered par on a flat pitch. They also needed to get enough to counteract the dew that was already on the outfield at the start of the match and would only get worse, rendering the spinners largely unthreatening.

Kohli’s 38 helped make up for Gautam Gambhir’s ponderous 17, which spanned 27 balls, and the early loss of Ajinkya Rahane. However, they struggled in the middle against some tight bowling from Luke Wright and James Tredwell and it was only thanks to some brilliance from Dhoni and Raina that they pushed the total past 160.

The pair made the most of the relentless short-pitched barrage to which they were subjected by Stuart Meaker and Jade Dernbach and hung back in the crease. Both Meaker and Dernbach were guilty of delivering too many, poorly directed bouncers and seemed to forget that one of the keys to bowling at the death is the element of surprise.

However, any momentum that India had built towards the end of their innings quickly evaporated as Awana slipped over in attempting to field the first ball at third man and, along with Dinda, bowled an erratic opening spell. This allowed England to get ahead of the rate early and lay the platform for Morgan and Buttler to finish the job 90 minutes later.

© Cricket World 2012



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