Eoin Morgan guides England to thrilling T20 win over India


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The Independent Online

Eoin Morgan hit the last ball for a straight six as England pulled off their highest Twenty20 run chase to conclude their 2012 schedule with a thrilling six-wicket victory over India.

It seemed Morgan (49no) had left it too late, with three still needed to win off the final ball from Ashok Dinda.

But the Irishman kept his cool, even after Dinda controversially pulled out of the delivery first time round with Morgan crouched in his stance.

An apparent rethink then worked a treat for England as Morgan stood his ground to strike a perfect blow straight back over the seamer's head to tie the two-match series.

England had earlier struggled to contain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina's late onslaught and appeared to be up against it to better 177 for eight at the Wankhede Stadium.

But on a good batting surface, and with a heavy dew making life difficult for India after Morgan had won an important toss, Michael Lumb (50) and then the captain himself scrambled England home.

Even another three economical wickets from Yuvraj Singh could not quite tip the balance India's way this time.

Lumb shared an opening stand of 80 with Alex Hales - and then after Yuvraj had done his worst, Morgan finished the job in company with Jos Buttler.

Lumb counted four from the very first ball of England's chase, thanks to a hapless Parvinder Awana misfield as he lost his footing at third-man.

The same fielder, at deep square-leg, then let the greasy ball slip out of his hands as he dropped Hales when he had just seven.

Lumb also had some minor early fortune, mishooking Awana three times in his first over - for a six, a four and a two.

There were plenty more authentic shots in his 30-ball half-century, including a second six over an unguarded long-on during the powerplay off Ravichandran Ashwin.

As in the first match in Pune, the introduction of Yuvraj's left-arm spin was soon significant.

First, Lumb went walkabout and was stumped down the leg-side to end an opening stand of 80 in the ninth over; then Luke Wright got in a tangle and was hit in front, and finally Hales picked out deep square-leg with a sweep.

Yuvraj had taken three for 18 two days ago, and this time he improved his career-best with another three for one run fewer.

Samit Patel holed out in the chase off Dinda, but Morgan and Buttler got the target down to nine off the last over and got home right at the wire.

Wright's first over and Stuart Meaker's last earlier both cost 20 runs, and England had no answer during a 60-run sixth-wicket partnership in just 27 balls between Dhoni and Raina.

Jade Dernbach had struck in only the second over when Ajinkya Rahane carved a catch down to debutant Joe Root at third-man.

But first-change Meaker began poorly, with five wides somehow hurled almost straight to fine-leg before he was pulled for four twice.

England's outcricket took another turn for the worse when Wright overstepped for a big no-ball, and saw the free-hit slapped wide of mid-on by Virat Kohli for another boundary.

The upshot was a 50 stand for the second wicket in only 25 balls.

Meaker redeemed himself with the wicket of Kohli, for the second match running, lbw pushing across the line to a ball which might have beaten leg-stump.

Wright switched ends to make amends too, with another big wicket when Yuvraj pulled to long-on to give Root some more catching practice.

Opener Gautam Gambhir was cast in the sheet-anchor role, but appeared to be taking the brief to extremes - and it was not clear to whose advantage it was when he mis-pulled Wright to be caught at a fine third-man for 17 off 27 balls.

Rohit Sharma missed a slog-sweep at James Tredwell and was bowled but Raina was dropped on nine, a tough chance to diving wicketkeeper Buttler off Tim Bresnan.

Then just when it seemed England might be about to restrict India, the left-hander went into overdrive in Meaker's last over - and Dhoni's canny placement and power proved telling too.

England, however, had done just enough in the middle overs to give their batsmen the chance they needed.