Report: India vs England, 4th ODI
Suresh Raina’s brilliant unbeaten 89 (off 79 balls) helped India chase down 257 with five wickets in hnad at the PCA Stadium. The win has not only affirmed India’s No.1 status in the ICC ODI rankings, but also given them a series win (3-1) with a match to spare.
Coming in at a tricky time when India were at 90/3 after 22.4 overs, Raina changed the course of the game with the help of two good partnerships – with Rohit Sharma (83) and MS Dhoni (19).
Earlier in the Indian innings, Gautam Gambhir walked out with his 12th opening partner in ODIs in form of Rohit Sharma. While the left-hander departed in the sixth over with just 10 runs against his name, Sharma went on to score his 13th ODI fifty. His 83 runs off 93 balls were laced with 11 fours and a six.
After losing Gambhir early on, Rohit put up a 52-run stand with Virat Kohli (26) for the second wicket. Virat perished by handing a simple return catch to James Tredwell, who also returned to dismiss Yuvraj Singh (3) for the fourth time in as many matches. Rohit was then joined by Suresh Raina. The two raised 68 runs in 51 balls, before Rohit was trapped lbw by Finn.
Raina continued to carry the Indian chase on his shoulders with another fifth-plus stand with MS Dhoni. They ran hard between the wickets and displayed their attacking skills. Raina kept his cool under pressure and ensured the run-rate remained within India’s reach. In fact, his strike-rate of 112 meant India won with 15 balls to spare.
However, luck favoured the flamboyant southpaw; he edged Steven Finn to the slips when on 41, but umpire Steve Davis signalled a dead-ball since the bowler had knocked over the bails at the non-striker’s end while delivering the ball.
Earlier, after being put in to bat, England produced a mixed bag of a batting performance. A typically solid innings from Alastair Cook (76), an uncharacteristically sedate 76 from Kevin Pietersen and a gutsy 57* from Joe Root steered the visitors to 257.
After struggling in the last two ODIs, Ishant Sharma regained his rhythm in friendly conditions. He was rewarded in his second over as Ian Bell tried to loft him on over mid-off but mishit it for Bhuvneshwar to take a stunning running catch at thirdman. That wicket-maiden was followed by one that saw an enthralling battle between Ishant and Kevin Pietersen. The second ball of the over was a ripper that pitched on off, bounced sharply and came back into the batsman. Pietersen inside-edged it and got hit on the inner thigh.
Just when Pietersen had recovered from the pain, Ishant bowled another jaffa that cut back into the batsman after pitching. Pietersen survived a close lbw appeal and a run-out attempt. The final ball of the over was a fuller one that left the right-hander after pitching and beat him. A few words and smiles were exchanged between the bowler and the batsman.
Pietersen continued to struggle – poking, fishing and missing – but refused to cave in to the pressure created by the Indian pacers. In the last eight balls he faced, Pietersen hit four fours and a six. In the end, he had his stumps rearranged by an Ishant yorker.
Before Pietersen, it was Alastair Cook who played a platform-laying knock. He scored 76 off 106 balls, before being adjudged lbw off an R Ashwin delivery that seemed to have pitched outside leg-stump.
Cook was followed by Eoin Morgan (3) and Samit Patel (1) quickly to the pavilion, paving way for Joe Root. The 22-year-old Yorkshire batsman was the epitome of calm confidence, coming in to bat with England at 142/4. When on naught, he was reprieved by Virat in the slips and he punished India for that drop. Root’s knock had a touch of class in form of shots through cover and the audacity of sweeps and scoops. He shared partnerships worth 95 and 78 with Cook and Pietersen respectively. As his senior partners played anchors, Root went for runs.
It was mainly because of Root’s power-hitting that England could notch 100 runs in the last 10 overs. He remained unbeaten on 57 off 45 balls. For India, Ravindra Jadeja took three wickets for 39 runs in his 10 overs.
Brief scores: England 257/7 in 50 overs (Cook 76, Pietersen 76, Root 57; Jadeja 3/39) lost to India 258/5 in 47.3 overs (Raina 89*, R Sharma 83; Tredwell 2/54)
Man of the Match: Suresh Raina for his unbeaten 89-run knock (79 balls) that set up a 5-wicket win for India.