ENGLAND faltered against Yuvraj Singh’s spin after a blistering half-century from Alex Hales and then had no answer themselves to India’s strokemakers in last night’s five-wicket Twenty20 defeat.
Yuvraj took three wickets for 19 runs to rudely interrupt England’s fun at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium after opener Hales (56) and Luke Wright had put them in an encouraging mid-innings position. Eoin Morgan’s team lost their last five wickets for 68 runs in ten overs to finish on 157 for six on a good batting surface.
Yuvraj himself then did some of the early steering as India coasted home with more than two overs to spare, to gain the most minor revenge in this first of two Twenty20s for England’s historic Test series victory.
It did not help the tourists’ cause when new-ball pair Jade Dernbach and Tim Bresnan both started with wides, the first of ten England would bowl.
Dernbach was guilty of three in his first over – before Ajinkya Rahane hoisted both him and Bresnan over long on for sixes. After a 42-run stand, Bresnan hit back with the wickets of both openers in the same over.
Gautam Gambhir pulled him high and hard but picked out Hales, the tallest man on the pitch, who held on to the catch above his head at deep square-leg. Bresnan should then have had two in two, Rahane badly dropped at short fine-leg by Stuart Meaker. But the missed chance cost only one run because Rahane mistimed his next ball to be well-caught at mid-on by Samit Patel.
Yuvraj dominated a partnership of 49 for the third wicket, hitting Danny Briggs for six, four and six high over the leg-side in the young spinner’s only over. But Meaker then kept his cool under another high one off Wright at deep square-leg when the left-hander fell just short of another six and had to go. India were already on course for victory by then. Virat Kohli was bowled, however, trying to pull Meaker – and Morgan missed one more golden chance to pull his team back into the match. When Mahendra Singh Dhoni fell over and was stranded mid-pitch, having set off for a single, Morgan produced a wild aim as the run-out opportunity went begging with more than 40 runs still needed. Earlier, Hales had been almost single-handedly responsible for getting England’s innings off to such a promising start. He raced to his 50 from just 26 balls, with seven fours and two sixes – and he and Wright took the score to 89 for one at the ten-over mark, in a stand of 68.
But Wright got underneath an attempted big hit at Yuvraj and holed out at long-off, a dismissal which kick-started the loss of three wickets for 11 runs in 16 balls – all to the slow left-armer as Yuvraj bowled Hales and then got Morgan in the same over, via another mistimed shot high to long-on.
Patel’s attempt at a six resulted in a third catch in the deep for Rahane off Ashok Dinda and despite the best efforts of the innovative Jos Buttler in a career-best 33 not out, including successive sixes off Parvinder Awana, England could not redress the balance.
M J Lumb lbw b Ashwin 1
A D Hales b Yuvraj Singh 56
L J Wright c Rahane b Yuvraj Singh 34
E J G Morgan c Rahane b Yuvraj Singh 5
S R Patel c Rahane b Dinda 24
J C Buttler not out 33
T T Bresnan c Kohli b Dinda 0
J C Tredwell not out 1
Extras (lb2 w1) 3
Total (6 wkts, 20 overs) 157
Fall: 1-21, 2-89, 3-99, 4-100, 5-138, 6-139. Bowling: Dinda 3 0 18 2; Ashwin 4 1 33 1; Awana 2 0 29 0; Jadeja 3 0 22 0; Chawla 3 0 24 0; Kohli 1 0 10 0; Yuvraj Singh 4 0 19 3.
G Gambhir c Hales b Bresnan 16
A M Rahane c S R Patel b Bresnan 19
V Kohli b Meaker 21
Yuvraj Singh c Meaker b L J Wright 38
S K Raina run out 26
M S Dhoni not out 24
R A Jadeja not out 0
Extras (lb4 w10) 14
Total (5 wkts, 17.5 overs) 158
Fall: 1-42, 2-44, 3-93, 4-110, 5-148. Bowling: Dernbach 3 0 27 0; Bresnan 3 0 26 2; Meaker 3.5 0 28 1; Tredwell 4 0 31 0; Briggs 1 0 18 0; Wright 3 0 24 1.