|Scorecard:||England v India|
|Player:||RA Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, YK Pathan, GP Swann, SCJ Broad, RJ Sidebottom, RS Bopara, KP Pietersen|
|Event:||ICC World Twenty20 2009|
DateLine: 14th June 2009
England played a tactically brilliant game to ensure that they are still in with a shout in the Twenty20 World Cup, providing the Indian openers with some serious chin music and then choking them at the end to win by three runs and sending the world champions home before the semi-finals.
With this win, England now have two points from two games, and have the knockout match to play with the West Indies on Monday, and the winner will join South Africa in the semi-finals. India, on the other hand, have one more game, against the Proteas, but that is only for the record books.
India’s technical flaw against the short ball, exposed brutally by the West Indies, was exploited brilliantly by the England fast bowlers. That, with some dubious captaincy decisions by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and some uninspired batting by him resulted in what was a rather unimpressive end to the champions’ efforts.
For one, there was really no reason for Ravindra Jadeja to come in ahead of Yuvraj Singh, who is by far the most convincing batsman in the Indian line-up right now. Added to that was the fact that though Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan shared an unbeaten 63-run stand, they just couldn’t get the ball away effectively.
But that takes nothing away from the English effort. Ryan Sidebottom got the party started, using the short stuff really well and removing the potentially dangerous Rohit Sharma and then making a glaring example of Suresh Raina’s weakness against the short delivery.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad stuck to the script with great effect, and that in the end was decisive.
Dhoni sent in Jadeja but the youngster was asked to do too much, given that he is not the best batter in the side. What he contributed in enthusiasm, he lost out in lack of success.
If there was a question mark that England would have in their attack, it would be on their spinners, but Graeme Swann’s ended that fear in no uncertain terms as first Jadeja holed out and then James Foster pulled off an absolutely brilliant stumping to remove Yuvraj, and as far as the contest was effectively over.
Yusuf Pathan did try to step on the gas, but his expertise, like most Indian batsmen, is really against the spinners, or length balls from seamers. Anything short was not going anywhere, and he got his fair share of that too.
The English batting effort was hesitant, though they did manage to put up a fighting total. Both Dhoni’s changes, brining in Jadeja and Rudra Pratap Singh instead of Irfan Pathan and Pragyan Ojha seemed to work, since both of them did a god job with the ball, though RP Singh would possibly have expected to bowl out all his four overs.
He was the one who gave India the early breakthrough as Wright fell trying to hook. But Kevin Pietersen came in and played with a lot of determination, as he set about scoring quickly, and at one time it looked like working very well indeed.
But the rest of the batting didn’t really raise the bar. Ravi Bopara played steadily, but just that, while Dimitri Mascarenhas, sent in ahead of Owais Shah and Paul Collingwood, struggled.
Jadeja was quite impressive with his spell of 2/26 off four overs, getting Bopara and Pietersen, who scored a fine 46 off 27 balls with five boundaries and a six.
But the real bowling hero was Harbhajan Singh. He bowled quite brilliantly, and apart from a tendency to fire down a few wides, he was quite on the job, removing Shah, James Foster and Graeme Swann, the last two off consecutive deliveries, to return figures of 3/30 off four overs.