India in England, ODI Series: 4th ODI

India in England, ODI Series: 4th ODI

India's best performance is rained on, again

 

The tussle between two of the best sides in international cricket took a bizarre, complicated and controversial turn in the fourth ODI. India went into the game knowing that they couldn't win the ODI series, but desperately searching for a win to draw some blood. England had done all the right things to have the better of India across all three formats of the game, and knew that letting up on the pressure would damage their quest to be the best England team in history.

 

 

 

 

 

Winning the toss and putting India in to bat again, England kept Ajinkya Rahane and Parthiv Patel quiet, conceding only 14 runs by the 6th over. That was enough for Patel, who took James Anderson for 11 runs in the 7th over, including a 6 and a 4, to get things moving. Rahane joined in the fun, hitting Steven Finn for two boundaries in an over, then blasting him for 6, 4 and 4 later to propel India past 50 after a slow start. Stuart Broad ended the fun in his first over, trapping Rahane in front for 38 to break India's first wicket stand at 65/1. Broad struck again to remove Patel for 27, and both India's openers were gone at 70/2 in 16 overs.

 

Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid, in his penultimate ODI, took India over 100, but both fell to Graeme Swann in the England offspinner's first over. India in trouble after sliding from 109/2 to 110/4, but Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina - both in good runs of form - steadied the ship and carried India along. A 6 from Dhoni brought India's 150 up and signaled a counterattack from the Indian middle order. Raina and Dhoni took India to 192, before destroying James Anderson for 18 runs in an over, Dhoni with two boundaries and Raina with a 6 that took him to 50*. It also brought the 200 up, but there was more to come, with boundaries flowing from both bats as Dhoni also reached his half-century. 250 came up with a 6 and 4 from Dhoni, and even though Raina fell in the last over for a brilliant 84 (off just 75 balls), India finished on 280/5, a potent reminder of what they are capable of, despite having struggled all tour.

 

India made a good start in England's innings, RP Singh removing both openers cheaply to have England in early trouble at 27/2. Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell counterattacked, but then Trott fell for 23, and India stayed ahead of England at 61/3. With no Kevin Pietersen or Eoin Morgan, it fell to Ravi Bopara and Bell to hold the chase together. That they did, taking England past 100 and staying up with the required run rate. Bell reached his 50* and Bopara did the same with a boundary that also took England over 150. But just as England seemed on course, Bell was well caught by Manoj Tiwary off Ravindra Jadeja to bring India back into the game at 159/4.

 

With clouds approaching the cloud, Ben Stokes hit a boundary, but was caught & bowled off the next ball by Ravi Ashwin, as England faltered at 169/5. Bopara and Tim Bresnan kept it together, with a bit of help from India, who conceded 6 vital overthrows to give England 15 runs in an over.  As the rain started to fall, Bresnan's cameo came to an end, bowled by RP Singh for a useful 27. England 220/6, with Stuart Broad uncertain because of an injury he picked up while bowling.

 

The rain caused frequent interruptions and delays, as players and umpires left the ground, only to return moments later as it seemed play could continue. Graeme Swann kept a cool head and swatted boundaries bringing the equation down to a run-a-ball. But with the threat of Duckworth-Lewis never far, Swann was run out going for a risky single, and Bopara fell the next ball trying to bat England ahead of the D-L equation. Bopara gone for a game-saving 96, and the heavens truly falling with his wicket. The calculations revealed that the wickets had pegged England back, and with seven deliveries left to go, England were on par with the Duckworth-Lewis score. The game was tied.

 

The second tie in five games between these two, the first being that utterly epic encounter in the World Cup. Absolute, sheer frustration for India, who batted brilliantly after being in trouble (again), and then did everything right to keep checking England's progress. But cheers to England, too, who fought tooth and nail all the way, and for Ravi Bopara, who admirably stepped up to the plate in the absence of Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan.

 

The tie means that India have no chance of drawing this series. The most they can hope for is a win in the final rubber. And even then, they have to hope that it doesn't rain.

 

India: 280/5 (Suresh Raina 84, Graeme Swann 9-1-49-2) in 50 overs, at 5.60 runs an over

England (target 271 runs from 48.5 overs): 270/8 (Ravi Bopara 96, RP Singh 9-0-53-3), at 5.52 runs an over

Match tied (via Duckworth-Lewis method)

England lead the five game series 2-0

Men of the Match: Suresh Raina and Ravi Bopara