World T20 Ind vs Eng: Harbhajan spins a win on return

first_imgPerhaps after leading India to one of their most comprehensive T20 wins ever, MS Dhoni will shelve his four-bowler theory for good. As it was, his experimental five-man attack produced the goods to steamroll England by a whopping 90 runs in the final Group A encounter at the R Premadasa Stadium here.For Harbhajan Singh, representing Indian after 13 months in the wilderness, it was a dream comeback. He made use of his favourite weapon – bounce – to get the clueless English batsmen into all sorts of tangles and finish with astounding figures of four for 12. The other returning spinner, Piyush Chawla, also got the ball to spit off the surface and ended up with two for 13 as the batsmen opted for premeditated shots. Irfan Pathan, too, bowled brilliantly with the new ball to scalp two as England were shot out for 80 – their lowestever T20 score – in reply to India’s 170 for four. Only Craig Kieswetter (35) made an impression with some clean hitting against the pace of Lakshmipathy Balaji and Ashoke Dinda, cracking four boundaries and two sixes.Earlier, a sterling unbeaten half-century from Rohit Sharma (55) and important contributions from Gautam Gambhir (45) and Virat Kohli (40) had powered India to what looked like a competitive total. England skipper Stuart Broad elected to bowl and Dhoni kept his word on experimenting with the line-up. Injured Virender Sehwag, the out-of-sorts Zaheer Khan and the in-form Ravichandran Ashwin, were replaced by Dinda, Harbhajan and Chawla. The India skipper then sent Pathan to open with Gambhir, but the Baroda left-hander fell early to Steven Finn for eight. Virat Kohli continued his golden run at No.3 with a couple of delectable shots square of the wicket off Finn and Broad, before dancing down the track to pacer Tim Bresnan and slapping it over extra cover for four.But the shot of the day was Kohli’s wristy on-drive off Broad in the eighth over, which sped to the long-on boundary quite like the signature stroke of a certain SR Tendulkar. Another one was an imperious front-foot pull off Bresnan that helped take India to 80 for one in 10 overs. Kohli and Gambhir’s 57-run stand was brought to an end by the excellent Graeme Swann, the only English bowler to concede less than eight an over. He foxed Kohli in flight, and the right-hander could only chip it down deep mid-wicket’s throat.That gave way to a period of quiet rebuilding by Gambhir and Rohit, before the left-hander became Finn’s second victim in an attempt to accelerate the scoring. But Rohit ensured that the platform wasn’t wasted.After pacing his innings well early on, the Mumbai batsman got India’s finishing kick going by taking on a steepling Stuart Broad bouncer and guiding it over the ‘keeper to the boundary. He pulled the very next ball for another boundary. It’s not often that Dhoni scores just nine in a partnership of 47, but Rohit, who took a bulk of the strike, helped India score 51 in the last four overs.advertisementlast_img

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