Sunday, Nov 27, 2022
Sixth ODI

Joyless In Jamshedpur

MSD (96) and Powar (54) tried, but a reckless batting by the rest ensured the jinx wasn't lifted, as India lost their eighth match out of nine at the venue, giving England their first win in the series.

Joyless In Jamshedpur
| AP
Joyless In Jamshedpur

Two perennial 'passengers' -- Virender Sehwag and Mohammad Kaif -- in the Indian team failed again in the midst of a shoddy display by the home side which enabled England to register a pride-restoring five-wicket win in the sixth one-dayer today.

Sehwag, who was promoted as captain after Rahul Dravid was rested with India having already clinched the series, departed in the very first over for 4 to trigger off a by-now familiar top order collapse which saw India being dismissed for 223 in 48 overs.

Kaif (15), who was promoted to number three to sort out his batting, also failed to arrest his poor form and had it not been for mature knocks of 96 by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and 54 by Ramesh Powar, the Indians would have cut a really sorry figure.

With the target not enough to challenge England on a good batting track, the visitors rode on a 74-run knock by Andrew Strauss to canter to victory with 44 balls to spare. They made 227 for five in 42.4 overs to break India's golden run of eight wins on the trot.

Strauss, leading the side in place of rested Andrew Flintoff, shared a 107-run opening stand with Ian Bell (46) before retiring due to cramps caused by furnace-like conditions.

With the platform having been laid, in contrast to India who failed yet again to put up a good start due to the early dismissal of Sehwag, the rest was easy for England who now travel to Indore for the seventh and final game on April 15.

After the reverses in the first four matches -- the fifth was abandoned in Guwahati -- England put up an inspiring performance both with the ball and the bat to make it a one-sided affair in the end. Cruising at 190 for two at stage, they lost a couple of quick wickets, but by then the fate of the match was already sealed.

However, some drama was injected into the proceedings late in the England innings when Harbhajan Singh sent back Kevin Pietersen (33) and Ramesh Powar, who had hit a crucial 54 earlier, dismissed Liam Plunkett in quick succession.

The highlight of England's chase was the fine 85-ball knock by Strauss, leading England for the first time ever.

The left-handed opener, who battled cramps in his innings before retiring hurt, hit ten fours and was declared man of the match.

Earlier, Dhoni rescued India from an inexplicable batting collapse. The wicketkeeper, promoted to open the innings, slammed 10 fours and three sixes in his 106-ball knock to lift India from a sorry-reading 79 for 5.

The Jharkhand player found able support in Powar who scored his maiden half-century and shared a crucial 107-run partnership for the sixth wicket.

Nothing seemed to to go right for the hosts after Sehwag won the toss and elected to bat on a placid track.

India suffered further reverses when Plunkett showed the door to Yuvraj Singh (4) and Suresh Raina (2) in his first two overs. While Yuvraj dragged the ball onto his stumps while going for a pull, Raina miscued a glance to finish in the hands of Mathew Prior who brought off a good catch as India were reduced to 63-4.

With wickets falling at the other end, Dhoni showed maturity by cutting down on his stroke making and depending on deft placements to push the score along.

Strauss then decided to bring in James Anderson from the other end and the move paid immediate dividends as Venugopala Rao, who made it to the Indian team for the first time in the series, was dismissed by the bowler for 10.

Powar had a shaky start, but lady luck was with him.

The Mumbai cricketer was first dropped by Ian Bell at leg gully when on 3, with Anderson again being the victim. Without making any further addition, Powar offered a bat and pad chance at silly point to Paul Collingwood off Ian Blackwell, but this chance also went abegging.

Powar grew in confidence as time wore on and provided able support to Dhoni, who played some scintillating strokes.

He hit four fours and one six in his 83-ball knock before being caught by Matthew Hoggard off Collingwood.

Dhoni's delightful essay came to an end when he was four away from what would have been his fourth ODI hundred. He played half-cock to a rising ball, and Vikram Solanki gleefully accepted the catch at short mid wicket.

Sehwag's poor form continued, being dismissed for 4 and triggering off a now familiar batting collapse. His partner in bad times Mohammad Kaif (15) also failed to arrest his run of poor form as England bowled with a lot of purpose in the searing heat conditions.

India were reduced to 63 for four in the 13th over, with Yuvraj (4) and Raina (2) -- the two in-form batsmen -- being sent back to the pavilion by Plunkett in his consecutive overs.

The Indians got a jolt in the very first over as Sehwag edged Anderson to Solanki in the slips.

Unaffected by the fall of the big wicket at the other end, Dhoni plundered runs at will, collecting 14 runs in the next over by Hoggard who gave away 59 runs in 8 overs.

The new poster boy of Indian cricket cracked three fours past cover point, square leg and extra cover apart from taking a couple, leaving Hoggard completely befuddled.

Kaif hit a couple of good shots but in the end fell cheaply, unable to cash in on a life at nine when Collingwood floored a simple chance at backward point. Anderson was the unlucky bowler.

Kaif (15) was trapped leg before off Sajid Mahmood (3-27) who impressed with his pace and also bagged the prized scalp of Dhoni.



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