Monday, September 24, 2012
Harbhajan spins England into a tizzy
Rohit, spinners hand India massive win over England.
The Turbanator strikes back.COLOMBO: Harbhajan Singh ran circles around England as India stormed to a massive 90-run win over their rivals in a Group 'A' match of the ICC World Twenty20, on Sunday night.
Making a comeback to International cricket, the off-spinner snared four wickets, conceding just 12 runs in his four overs, as England were destroyed for 80 in 14.4 overs - their lowest ever Twenty20 total - in their chase of India's 170.
Harbhajan's figures of 4-2-12-4 are the best by an Indian in Twenty20 Internationals. Piyush Chawla carried out his supporting duties well, picking up two wickets for 13 runs, including that of the well-set Craig Kieswetter.
Rohit Sharma (55*) had earlier - in conjunction with Gautam Gambhir (45) and Virat Kohli (40) - taken India to 170-4 after England elected to field. The total proved more than a handful for the Poms as they struggled to get going.
Irfan Pathan, who had also opened batting for India, got the breakthrough when he bowled opener Alex Hales for a duck with an inswinger in the first over. In his next, Pathan trapped Luke Wright in front, although the decision bordered on the contentious. England were 18-2 in 2.4 and it all went downhill from there.
Harbhajan came on in the sixth over and struck when Eoin Morgan had his stumps flattened by a quicker arm-ball. Next it was the turn of the perpetually debatable inclusion named Chawla. The leg-spinner cleaned up Jonny Bairstow with the googly and nailed Kieswetter with one that spun away and took the edge, travelling to Kohli at slip.
With half the side down for 56, there was no way out for England, and Harbhajan slammed the door shut on them in his next two overs. The sardar claimed Bresnan on a top-edged sweep, and then reaped a brace of victims in his last over, the 12th of England's innings. A visibly terrified Buttler was bowled backing away, and Graeme Swann marched down the wicket to a doosra and was duly stumped - giving Bhajji four wickets and the Man of the Match award in his comeback game.
Ashok Dinda ended England's misery when he claimed Stuart Broad, leaving India winners by huge margin.
A return to form for the classy Mr. Sharma.Earlier, Rohit's dominating fifty took India to a more than competitive total on a wicket that appeared to be slightly slower than originally anticipated. The supposed carry in the pitch compelled England to opt for Tim Bresnan instead of the slower Samit Patel. In hindsight, the move backfired.
Bresnan and Stuart Broad went for almost nine an over, and fellow fast bowler Jade Derbach for eleven apiece off his four - as India were untroubled by the short stuff hurled at them. The only bowler to cause worry was off-spinner Swann, who came on after the Powerplay and turned in four miserly overs for just 11, also picking up the in-form Kohli's wicket.
With both teams through to the Super Eights, India too had rung in the changes. Virender Sehwag, R. Ashwin and Zaheer Khan made way for Dinda, Harbhajan and Chawla. The extra bowler necessitated the bumping up of Pathan to the opening slot. But Pathan struck just a sweet four off Steve Finn before the bowler uprooted his off-stump with a full delivery, leaving India one down in the third over after England elected to field.
Gambhir and Kohli added 57 in under 8 overs to get India back on track. Kohli got going with boundaries off Finn and Broad and had four hits to the fence in his first 20 runs. India reached 52-1 at the end of the Powerplay. Another Kohli four off Bresnan brought up the fifty partnership. Swann meanwhile had slipped in two overs for just 10 runs. In his third, the 11th over of the innings, the English offie beat Gambhir, then on 26, in flight, but Kieswetter fluffed the stumping.
One ball later Swann drew Kohli into a hit straight to deep midwicket, causing the Indian star to storm off the pitch mouthing a selection of profanities. Rohit walked in and gathered his runs at par initially to take India to 114-2 in 15 overs. Gambhir was finally out for a patchy 45 when he edged a slow Finn off-cutter to Kieswetter, but Rohit kicked in with two fours in Broad's 17th over of the innings.
The disfigured ball was changed in the 19th over, and the new sphere was greeted savagely by Rohit in the last over of the innings, bowled by Dernbach. A six and a four gave the young batsman his fifty in 31 balls and elevated India to 170-4, as 17 came from the final over.
Dhoni, meanwhile, was out to a joint venture at the long on boundary. Buttler dropped out of the boundary going for a catch, tossed the ball back in, where it was safely pouched by Hales. India smashed 51 runs in the last four overs. Considering the ineptness of English batsmen against spin, 170 was a few lightyears out of reach.
15th over: 80 all out. All over! Finn run out. Direct hit from the short fine-leg fielder England 80 all out. India win by 90 runs.
Good all round show by India, but the day belonged to Harbhajan and Chawla. Nobody gave them a chance to be picked in the XI. Dhoni did that and the spinners paid back with terrific spells. 4/12 for Harbhajan and 2/13 for Chawla.
India go top of Group A, but you don't carry points to Super Eights. But good confidence-booster this for India after being run close by Afghanistan.
Jade Dernbach run out 12 (7)
14th over: Chawla completes his terrific comeback. 2/13 in his four overs. In hindsight, it will give Dhoni a headache about who to choose out of his spinners. Ashwin, Harbhajan or Chawla? May be all of them.
13th over: 60 for 9. Now Dinda joins the wicket-taking wagon. Short ball, Broad pulls but finds the mid-wicket to perfection. Finn says he wants to have fun as well, whacks three boundaries. Dinda getting overexcited it seems.
Stuart Broad c Gambhir b Dinda 3 (3)
12th over: 60 for 8. Out! Out! Two wickets. Four wickets for Harbhajan. He is having a party. England can't read Harbhajan at all. Butler bowled, Swanna stumped. England eight down. What a comeback! 4 for 12 in 4 overs. Couldn't have asked for more in a T20 game.
Graeme Swann st \Dhoni b Harbhajan Singh 0 (3)
Jos Buttler b Harbhajan Singh 11 (12)
11th over: 60 for 6. Broad and Butler on the crease now. Almost lost count on who's in and who's out. Can't expect them to do what the top order failed at. A wicket-less over! That's a change.
10th over: 54 for 6. Harbhajan continues to have fun. Or should we say, spinners continue to have fun against England. Second wicket for Bhajji as Bresnan holes out in the deep.
Tim Bresnan c Gambhir b Harbhajan Singh 1 (8)
9th over: 51 for 5. Chawla strikes again! What happened, England! They are falling apart against spin. A perfect legspinner, Kieswetter drives, the ball takes the edge and Kohli does the rest in the slips. Smart catch. Another wicket maiden. England chase in tatters.
Craig Kieswetter c Kohli b Chawla 35 (25)
8th over: 51 for 4. Harbhajan continues. A reverse-swept boundary by Butler and a couple of twos make it a good over for England. But they need a repair job, which is looking difficult against quality spin.
7th over: 42 for 4. Chawla in, Chawla strikes. Bye bye, Bairstow! Totally foxed on that wrong'un as the ball beats his slog sweep to rattle the stumps. Four down now, and this is a one-sided match so far. A boundary off the last ball by Butler ruins it a bit, though.
Jonny Bairstow b Chawla 1 (8)
6th over: 39 for 3. Bowled! Harbhajan strikes straight away! Eoin Morgan is out of India's way now. Arm ball, Morgan goes back to cut, instead middle stump is knocked back. The turbanator is all fired up. Wicket maiden! Almost a double on that close stumping appeal against Jonny Bairstow.
Eoin Morgan b Harbhajan Singh 2 (6)
5th over: 39 for 2. Two fours, both behind the wickets. First Kieswetter tickles it past Dhoni to the fine-leg boundary and then Kieswetter nudges it to the third-man boundary with the man up.
4th over: 30 for 2. Kieswetter takes on Ashok Dinda, who replaces Balaji. A flat six over extra cover to welcome the medium pacer, stand and deliver. Next ball goes through the mid-wicket for a boundary, absolutely smacked that.
3rd over: 18 for 2. Out! Luke Wright too begins with a six, over long-off, but falls in the same over. Second wicket for Irfan, this one lbw as Wright misses a pull shot. India' couldn't have asked for a better start.
Luke Wright lbw b Pathan 6 (4)
2nd over: 12 for 1. England off the blocks with that straight six from Kieswetter off Balaji, who starts from the other end. Width offered next, and Kieswetter carts it this time through point for a boundary. 10 from the over.
1st over: 2 for no 1. Out! Probing first over by Irfan and reward straight away. Hales gone! After missed run-out chance, which would have had Kieswetter out for a naught for the second consecutive match, Irfan goes through Hales' defence to bowl him.
Alex Hales b Pathan 0 (2)
20th over: 170 for 4. Expensive last over by Dernbach and fifty for Rohit Sharma. Starts with a wide, followed a juicy full toss to Rohit on the off stump, which he slices over point for a six. Next shot beats the short fine-leg fielder for a four. Dhoni perishes to an alert catch on the ropes by Hales, who lobs the ball in to Butler before crossing the boundary. 55 not out off 33 balls for Rohit Sharma. Well played, boy.
MS Dhoni c Hales b Dernbach 9 (8)
19th over: 153 for 3. Bresnan to bowl the penultimate over of the innings, his last. Rohit is still there, in case you forgot, closing in on his fifty. Won't have much time to reach there but doing the damage all right. An edged four through fine third-man follows a couple off the first ball. But Bresnan controls the damage to keep it to 10 runs off the over. His spell reads 4-0-35-0.
18th over: 143 for 3. Dhoni changes his bat and a slice cut over the covers follows. Much needed boundary for India. The India skipper trying to hit the ball very hard, but Dernbach is varying it nicely. Importantly no dots balls and 11 runs off the over.
17th over: 132 for 3. Rohit turning it on here against Broad. Two bouncers and two fours. First an upper cut over the keeper and then a help-yourself four through fine leg, which is up. A fine save by Bairstow at long-on and a failed run-out attempt by Broad ends the over. 4/36 for Broad, no wicket.
16th over: 119 for 3. Finn takes out Gambhir! Slow offcutter, Gambhir has a wild swing but gets a thick edge that is easily taken by Kieswetter. Good over for England. Just five runs and a wicket.
15th over: 114 for 2. Another over that begins with a Gambhir boundary. Bresnan bowls it on Gambhir's pads and the neat deflections takes it past the fine-leg boundary. Four singles make it a 8-run over. India need to open up now. 160 may not be enough on this pitch.
14th over: 106 for 2. Nine runs off the over, largely due to that boundary off the first ball of this Broad over. Gambhir drives on the up for a four through the covers. What will India end up with in 20 overs?
13th over: 97 for 2. Swann bowls out, and India have done well to not give him more than wicket. India snatch a couple off the last ball of his spell, which ends at 3-0-17-1.
12th over: 91 for 2. Rohit Sharma takes over from Kohli, and almost does a Kohli with that front-foot pull for a boundary through the midwicket. Important India don't let the momentum drop after Kohli's dismissal.
11th over: 83 for 2. Out! Swann picks Kohli! He is seething to have picked out the midwicket fielder. Didn't get the elevation, was too close to where the ball pitched. But Swann has got his man, the dangerman. Swanns' figures 3-0-11-1. Gold dust!
Virat Kohli c Bairstow b Swann 40 (32)
10th over: 80 for 1. Thunderstorms in the area. Is that why Broad chose to field? Could be the reason. Meanwhile, it's Kohli who is stealing all the thunder so far. Bresnan brought back but nothing has changed. A pull off the front foot. Would you believe that! It's a different game with Kohli on strike. Six more runs in ones and twos make it 10 from the over. Halfway mark reached.
9th over: 70 for 1. Swann is the odd one out here, in the positive way. A tight lid on scoring when he is on, otherwise it is a run feast. Just four runs off this over.
8th over: 66 for 1. No stopping Kohli here. What form this lad is in! Whips Broad this time for another boundary, over mid-wicket. We need no rain here. This is being set up nicely here by Kohli and Gambhir.
7th over: 58 for 1. Graeme Swann into the attack and concedes just six runs off the over. Sanity to the proceedings. No boundary, six singles.
6th over: 52 for 1. Finn's third over in a row finish the Powerplay - a healthy one for India. Two fours in that over. Through the slips for Kohli and through the covers for Gambhir. England need a wicket.
5th over: 41 for 1. Bresnan has been pressed into service from the other end. Doesn't make any difference to Kohli, though. Dances down the track, Bresnan shortens his length but Kohli still has time to upper cut him over point. Four.
4th over: 34 for 1. Just one over for Dernbach. Broad brings himself on. Kohli, the new man in, takes no time to welcome the England skipper by punching him to the square boundary on the off.
3rd over: 28 for no 1. Out! Fuller ball and Irfan has his offstump knocked back. Finn began the over trying to bounce out Pathan. But it was outside off, room to free arms and the allrounder cut it over point to collect his first boundary. However, he was castled the next ball as Finn corrected his length by bowling full. Kohli comes in and smacks the second ball he faces for a four. Simple.
Irfan Pathan b Finn 8 (8 )
2nd over: 16 for no loss. Dernbach opens from the other end, and Gambhir pulls off a pull shot. First boundary for India. That pushes square leg back but the next ball is wide of the offstump, and Gambhir slices this time, another four, through backward point. Healthy over for India.
1st over: 6 for no loss. If Dhoni hasn't surprised you already with his team selection, Irfan Pathan has come in to open with Gautam Gambhir. Pathan's success as an opener will depend on how well he plays the horizontal-bat shots against the bouncy England pacers. Not much action in that first over bowled by Steven Finn. Notably, both openers off the mark.
7:20 p.m. So Dhoni has throw everyone who needed to be tested in against England: Gambhir, Harbhajan, Chawla, Dinda. Let's see who comes up trumps for the skipper.
India: Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c/wk), Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla, L Balaji, Ashok Dinda
England: C Kieswetter (wk), Alex Hales, Luke Wright, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad (c), Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach
7 p.m. Toss! Stuart Broad calls it right and England will be bowling first.
Dhoni has rested Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and R Ashwin for the match. That should raise some eyebrows considering how India performed against England. Did Sehwag and Zaheer not need a good outing in the middle to get their confidence back?
England bring in Tim Bresnan for Samit Patel.
6:45 p.m. Hello! We are here in Colombo for the mouth-watering clash between the defending World Twenty20 champions and the winners of the 2007 edition - it's England vs India. Toss in 15 minutes.