Cricket

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  • India v England, 2nd Twenty20, Mumbai

Captain Morgan wins thriller for England

The Report by Siddhartha Talya
December 22, 2012
England 181 for 4 (Lumb 50, Morgan 49*, Yuvraj 3-17) beat India 177 for 8 (Dhoni 38, Kohli 38, Raina 35*) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Eoin Morgan helped England level the series with a thrilling six (file photo) © Getty Images
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They don't come as smooth as Captain Morgan. As MS Dhoni and his senior associates debated the field for the final delivery of the chase, off which England needed three to win, Eoin Morgan was calm, had a word with his partner and then waited.

Jos Buttler had tried to be cheeky and didn't succeed the previous ball, but Morgan put an end to the game in the only way an expectant crowd sensing victory could have been silenced in disbelief - a deathly blow over the sightscreen when there seemed to be enough room in the field to squeeze a couple and take the game to a Super Over.

With a Test series won and a T20 series drawn, England rounded off their first leg of this tour of India on a happy note. The victory was also their highest successful chase in T20 internationals.

Ashok Dinda, who bowled that last over, had tried hard to get his attempted yorkers on target with nine needed. The first five deliveries yielded just six runs, thanks to some good outfielding, even though Dinda didn't quite find his mark each time. When Buttler first shaped up for a scoop off the penultimate ball before trying to guide it past Dhoni's right, only to miss it and steal a bye, it seemed his more enterprising instincts may have backfired. But it brought Morgan on strike, and when Dinda overpitched, he launched him straight over his head, dispatching the ball above the press box, 92 metres into the stands.

Butler's contribution, too, was significant. He joined Morgan with England needing 29 off 13, and the partnership kicked off with Morgan pulling Dinda for six over deep midwicket. Up against an inexperienced Parvinder Awana in the penultimate over, Buttler drove a low full toss through extra cover before hammering the bowler for a flat, straight six off the final ball to bring it down to nine off six. And Morgan completed the job.

Yuvraj Singh produced another excellent spell, picking up three wickets and conceding just 17, helping India recover from an opening partnership that threatened to take the game away from them. Michael Lumb produced his best performance in England colours, timing the ball superbly, showing plenty of intent, combining powerplay with some adept footwork that fetched him a lovely, straight six off R Ashwin. Lumb helped score 62 off the Powerplay and added 80 in 50 balls with Alex Hales, who impressed again with another productive hand.

Lumb's stumping, Luke Wright's lbw and Hales - who was dropped by Awana on 7 - holing out, all to Yuvraj, put the pressure back on England before Morgan and Buttler turned the tables. India had done the same in their innings towards the death, smashing 63 in the last five overs thanks to Suresh Raina and Dhoni stepping up, but England were outstanding in their groundfielding.

They threw themselves around in the outfield, the fast bowlers included, cutting off boundaries, often restricting the hosts, despite their good running between wickets, to twos. Though Raina and Dhoni's late assault threatened to undermine that, the runs saved by England, which kept India to a challenging but gettable 177, played an influential role in the outcome. India put down two chances - Piyush Chawla let off Samit Patel who was yet to score - and there was a fumble that cost four runs the first ball of England's chase. In a game decided on the last ball, each lapse or incidence of brilliance had a magnified impact.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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