England squared the two-match T20 series at Mumbai with a stellar performance with the bat. With the visitors chasing a sizeable target of 178, India would have fancied their chances, but an atrocious bowling performance from the Indians barring the dependable Yuvraj Singh and some unbelievable hitting by the English batsmen towards the end of the innings saw the batting side home off the last ball of the thrilling encounter. Once again India fell short after having an opportunity to dominate a game. A 2-0 T20 win would have been some consolation for the Test blunders, but the way they performed in Mumbai, they didn’t deserve to win the series.
It was an erratic performance from India with both bat and ball. After losing Ajinkya Rahane early, Virat Kohli came in and made a magnificent 38, blasting the ball to all parts of the ground. His fast-paced innings set up things nicely for India, but the other batsmen messed it up following Kohli’s wicket – none more than Gautam Gambhir who ate up 27 balls for his 17 being throwing his wicket away. And, with Yuvraj Singh also failing with the bad, India had undone all of Kohli’s good work.
Rohit Sharma looked good for a while, but like so often in his career, he played the most awful of strokes to be cleaned up at a time when India needed him to carry on. Yet again then it was left to the pair of Suresh Raina and M S Dhoni to rescue India. Neither disappointed, picking their spots and finding the boundaries at will. The Raina-Dhoni partnership looked set to take India to a total closer to 190. But, with eight balls left in the innings, Dhoni was dismissed for a whirlwind 38 off 18 balls. The remaining deliveries produced only nine runs for India which, in hindsight, hurt the home side.
India could still have made a match out of it, if only they had bowled better. The inexperience of Parvinder Awana and Ashok Dinda however came to the fore as they were taken apart, both at the start of the innings and towards the end. India managed to stay in the hunt only because Yuvraj came up with yet another superlative effort with the ball. With Ravichandran Ashwin and Piyush Chawla also proving ineffective though Yuvraj’s heroics went in vain.
While being critical on the Indian bowlers, one ought to give due credit to the English batsmen as well. Eoin Morgan played a captain’s knock, keeping his cool when things got extremely tough towards the end. His last-ball six was proof of his mental strength under pressure. Jos Buttler’s cameo was also handy under the circumstances. Meanwhile, the wonderful start provided by the openers must not be ignored either. Michael Lumb and Alex Hales played some terrific strokes as England raced off to a brilliant start before Yuvraj got into the act.
England deserved to win. As for India, it was a simple case of them not being good enough.
--By A Cricket Analyst