Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Monday, November 24, 2008

India gets closer to whitewash,4-0 up

Riveting Show: Virender Sehwag was at his breezy best paving the way for India’s series-clinching victory.

The rains threw up an abridged game high on adrenaline and the Indians were equal to the task.After the skies opened up twice and robbed 306 minutes of play, umpires Daryl Harper and Amish Saheba deemed that a 22-overs-a-side game would fit into a damp night and M.S. Dhoni’s men found warmth in a 19-run victory over England in the fourth ODI of the seven-match series at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Sunday night.India won the series with an unassailable 4-0 lead. Virender Sehwag was chosen Man-of-the-Match.
Early stumble
Chasing India’s 166 that was revised to 198 as the target, thanks to the rain-influenced Duckworth Lewis equation, England slumped to 178 for eight in 22 overs.The chase stumbled as Ravi Bopara got out to a tumbling catch by Ishant Sharma and Ian Bell lost his timber to Harbhajan Singh.However Owais Shah had other ideas as his power-packed 72 (48b, 9x4, 3x6) in tandem with Andrew Flintoff’s (41) lusty hits, almost took the game away from the Indians.However, the Indians were always in with a sniff after Pietersen dragged Ishant onto his stumps. At 52 for three in 8.5 overs, the match was at its tipping point and it was India that surged ahead despite Shah and Flintoff’s 82-run fourth-wicket partnership off 48deliveries.

Shah hammered sixes off Yusuf Pathan, Yuvraj Singh and Munaf Patel while Flintoff dented the roof over the mid-wicket stand off Harbhajan Singh. The batting power-play taken by England in the 17th and 18th overs proved fatal as two wickets fell while only 14 runs were gained with an incisive Zaheer Khan forcing a steepler from Shah and Ishant scalping Flintoff.The contest was over at that moment.

Audacious display
Earlier Dhoni’s men smiled despite the grim weather as Sehwag’s 69 (57b, 9x4, 3x6) that had audacity and disdain written all over it, helped India finish with 166 for four in 22 overs.Sehwag’s knock also found apt reflections in the stunning shots essayed by Gautam Gambhir (40) and Yuvraj Singh (25 n.o.) as the Indians got into Twenty20 mode when play resumed past nine after 17 overs were bowled in the earlier two rain-affected sessions.

The afternoon began with a rumble as the crowd’s collective cheer reached its highest decibel level as Sachin Tendulkar emerged with Sehwag. Kevin Pietersen had elected to field on winning the toss with an eye on the clouds and the Duckworth/Lewis equation cropping up in the chase.Sehwag slashed James Anderson’s first ball for four and at the other end, Tendulkar worked Stuart Broad off his hips for four. Sehwag then slammed Anderson straight down in a stroke that resembled a tennis forehand.An unexpected seven-minute break due to the soft turf on the bowler’s landing spot from the BEML End helped England recoup and on resumption, Tendulkar failed to cover the gap as Broad darted one into the stumps.Silence reigned before next man Gautam Gambhir flicked his first delivery for four. Sehwag then toyed with Anderson as a pull heralded his 6000th ODI run and then he celebrated with a clout for six.

Gambhir’s role
Gambhir, meanwhile effectively countered the England seamers’ ploy of operating around the wicket as they tried to cramp the southpaw. Gambhir and Sehwag shared a 79-run second-wicket partnership marred by two rain breaks of 120 and 186 minutes each.
In the Indian innings’ final session, Sehwag struck left-arm spinner Samit Patel high but later perished in the deep. Gambhir too fell in a similar manner before Yuvraj carted Pietersen and slog-swept off-spinner Graeme Swann.

As the overs ran out, Dhoni got yorked but Yusuf Pathan struck a last ball six as India posted a challengingtotal.

India: V. Sehwag c Anderson b Swann 69, S. Tendulkar b Broad 11, G. Gambhir c Anderson b Swann 40, Yuvraj Singh (not out) 25, M.S. Dhoni b Samit 9, Yusuf Pathan (not out) 6. Extras (b-1, lb-1, w-4): 6. Total (for four wkts. in 22 overs): 166.

Fall of wickets: 1-38, 2-117, 3-142, 4-160.

England bowling: Anderson 5-0- 33-0, Broad 6-1-49-1, Flintoff 5-0- 20-0, Samit 3-0-24-1, Swann 2-0- 21-2, Pietersen 1-0-17-0.

England: R. Bopara c Ishant b Munaf 1, I. Bell b Harbhajan 12, O. Shah c Tendulkar b Zaheer 72, K. Pietersen b Ishant 5, A. Flintoff c Zaheer b Ishant 41, P. Collingwood c Tendulkar b Patel 22, S. Patel c Gambhir b Zaheer 11, G. Swann (run out) 6, M. Prior (not out) 0, Broad (not out) 0; Extras (b-3, lb-2, w-3, nb-1): 9. Total (for eight wkts. in 22overs): 178.
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-44, 3-52, 4-134, 5-141, 6-161, 7-178, 8-178.
India bowling: Zaheer 5-0-20-2,Munaf 4-1-21-2, Ishant 5-0-41-2, Yusuf 1-0-17-0, Harbhajan 4-0-42-1, Yuvraj 3-0-31-0.


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