Match Report, Ind vs Eng, Only T20I
Kolkata, October 29: England won their first and only game of the tour when they beat India in a low-scoring T20 at Eden Gardens, powered by some clever bowling and a Kevin Pietersen blitz.
Chasing a meagre 121, England got off to a slow but steady start facing opening bowlers R Ashwin and Yusuf Pathan; the scoreboard read a stable 20 for no loss at the end of the first three overs. Craig Kieswetter was the first to depart, caught in the deep off a Ravindra Jadeja delivery on 12.
Kevin Pietersen, returning from a hand injury that kept him out of the final ODI between the two sides, came out to join opener Alex Hales in the middle. KP earned a life when Suresh Raina spilled a catch two other fielders were also in contention for; the big hitter came up with a huge six and four soon after, employing T20 master-shots – the dilscoop and switch hit – respectively.
Even as KP was unravelling a flurry of sensational shots, his partner Hales was struggling against the spinners at the other end, finally out caught to a Yusuf Pathan delivery on 11. Joined by Samit Patel, KP carried on regardless, unleashing powerful strokes to keep the scorecard racing.
Heaving, punching, slamming and sweeping the ball at will, KP proved he’s a delight to watch, capable of taking the attack to the opposition irrespective of the conditions. When he was dismissed on 53, adjudged leg before to a Raina delivery, India would’ve allowed themselves a tiny glimmer of hope.
But with 15 required off the last 24 balls, that hope was unfounded. In the end, Ravi Bopara took England to victory with an easy single, helping the visitors end a difficult tour with a smile.
Amongst the Indian bowlers, Jadeja excelled, conceding just nine runs off his four overs and with one wicket to his name.
Earlier, winning the toss and opting to bat, India got off to a shaky start with opener Ajinkya Rahane falling for a duck in the very first over to Steven Finn. England’s bowling star of the ODI series, Finn seemed to be carrying his ODI form into the one-off T20. Virat Kohli’s early entry to the crease was followed closely by Robin Uthappa’s exit to a Tim Bresnan delivery, the keeper-batsman unable to make an impact on his return to the Indian side. Both early catches were taken expertly by keeper Craig Kieswetter.
With India struggling at 5 for two, a resurrection was in order. Kohli played freely to score 15 runs with two boundaries. But an excellent running catch from Alex Hales off a Tim Bresnan delivery ended his innings and confirmed that the English bowlers’ variations in pace and length were going to prove costly for India.
Raina staged a strong rescue effort, playing fearlessly and regularly finding the boundary; he even ended an otherwise impressive Finn over with a lofted shot over the bowler’s head for six.
Local boy Manoj Tiwary, who had replaced Kohli at the crease, failed to impress, bowled by Samit Patel for an awkward15. And when Finn returned to claim Raina (39) and Ravindra Jadeja (0) off consecutive deliveries, next man in MS Dhoni knew he would have to take control of a floundering innings.
With a succession of quiet overs sounding warning bells for India, Yusuf Pathan was the one to start the lower-order exodus. Ravi Bopara claimed the wickets of Pathan and Praveen Kumar in the same over, each of the batsmen bowled while swinging at the ball ambitiously.
But Dhoni finally found an effective partner in R Ashwin who remained unbeaten while contributing a vital 17 runs off 12 balls, including three elusive boundaries. The skipper himself was run out off the last ball of the innings on 21, giving the England side the sweet relief of dismissing him for the first – and as it turns out, only – time on the tour.
Brief scores: India 120 for nine in 20 overs (S Raina 39, MS Dhoni 21, S Finn 3/22, T Bresnan 2/19) lost to England (K Pietersen 53, S Patel 21, R Jadeja 1/9, S Raina 1/4) by 6 wickets and with 8 balls remaining.
Man-of-the-Match: Kevin Pietersen for a blazing 53 runs off 39 balls that took the game away from India