Redemption for Sidebottom as he dumps out holders

England 153-7 India 150-5
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The Independent Online

The holders are out, the hosts are still in. Improbably, nervously, deservedly, England defeated India by three runs in the World Twenty20 last night. So, the team that had been beaten by the Netherlands only nine days earlier and humiliated by South Africa ended the involvement of the 2007 champions.

They keep talking of roller-coaster rides in the England dressing room and the wonder is that they can withstand the G-forces imposed by this journey. It would be gloating, of course, to ask why there has been all that fuss about the Indian Premier League and how it makes Twenty20 experts of all those who sail in her.

India failed, narrowly, to chase 154 to win and, although they got closer and closer in the final five overs, as their captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, refused to yield the title lightly, there was just too much ground to make up.

The victory was achieved at the home of cricket, the nerve centre of the English game for almost two centuries, yet England must have felt last night as though they were playing in Mumbai or Delhi. The roar of approval for everything India did was staggering to behold and the disappointment was palpable. But what an atmosphere it was. Lord's probably thought it had seen it all. It had seen nothing like this.

Paul Collingwood, England's elated captain, said: "It was a bit strange to come back from practising at the Nursery End at the home of cricket and be booed by all the Indian fans. That's never happened before and it gave the lads the motivation to put on a party piece."

That the lads did. If England's victory was close, they were always ahead. They scored plenty of early runs and, if they were a few short of the target they ought to have set, their bowling was as precise and cunningly plotted as it can ever have been in this form of the game.

The man of the match was Ryan Sidebottom, drafted into the side as part of a key strategy to bowl short and aggressively, but the whole attack served its purpose.

There was, too, in a single instant eminent justification for the bold selection in the side of James Foster. His wonderfully alert stumping to remove the danger man Yuvraj Singh, as he began to dig deep into his well-stocked locker of big shots, was a seminal moment.

As he sloped slowly off after the third umpire had done his work, the wind could be sensed departing India's sails. England's progress, or otherwise, to the semi-finals will be decided tonight when they play the West Indies at The Oval. It will be the 19th international match of all hues between the sides this year and, in its way, the most crucial for all involved.

"We hoped the wicket would have a bit of pace in it today and, thankfully, it went through pretty well and we managed to get some good balls in good areas, they kept going for it and we kept taking wickets," Collingwood added.

"Both sides know each other very well, they have some danger men in that side but we'll enjoy this victory and know we have a massive job tomorrow."

In its way, it is unfair that England have so little time to savour what was a legitimate and authentic victory. But that is the nature of this competition and it is slightly surprising after a bizarre week that they are still in it.

When England, having been asked to bat in blissful sunshine, lost the wicket of Luke Wright early – when he was late on a hook shot – it was possible to fear the worst. But Ravi Bopara and Kevin Pietersen kept England's promise to be bold. They rotated the strike, they ran hard.

Trouble loomed when they were out, both a trifle carelessly, and Dimitri Mascarenhas, sent in at No 4 presumably to hit, played a disconcerting innings almost completely bereft of big shots. But England's rally in the last five overs, when they scored 53 without seeming to do much at all, would prove significant.

England blasted the Indians from the start. They bowled fast and straight and much of the time they aimed at the body. India had no answer. Sidebottom took wickets in his first and second overs as Rohit Sharma chopped on and Suresh Raina top-edged an ill-judged hook. For Sidebottom, who has had a tough time with injury and the whispered supposition that he might have lost his nip, this was redemption.

Stuart Broad was wonderfully adept, a different bowler from the man who was struck for six sixes in a single over the last time these sides met in a Twenty20 match. Graeme Swann's deftly flighted delivery with the delicate finishing touch accounted for Yuvraj last night after he had struck two of his nine balls for sixes.

India needed 60 from their final five overs and it was to their credit that they nearly got them as Broad, Swann, Wright all had overs. It was to England's greater credit that they denied them.

Lord's scoreboard

England Innings

R S Bopara b Jadeja.........  37

L J Wright c Pathan b R P Singh.........  1

K P Pietersen lbw b Jadeja.........  46

A D Mascarenhas not out.........  25

O A Shah c Jadeja b Harbhajan Singh.........  12

*P D Collingwood lbw b Khan.........  7

†J S Foster c & b Harbhajan Singh.........  6

G P Swann b Harbhajan Singh.........  0

S C J Broad not out.........  3

Extras (lb2 w14) .........  16

Total (for 7, 20 overs)......... 153

Fall: 1-3 2-74 3-92 4-122 5-138 6-145 7-145.

Did not bat: R J Sidebottom, J M Anderson.

Bowling: Khan 3-0-26-1; R P Singh 3-0-13-1; I Sharma 4-0-36-0; Yuvraj Singh 2-0-20-0; Harbhajan Singh 4-0-30-3; Jadeja 4-0-26-2.

India Innings

G Gambhir c Broad b Mascarenhas.........  26

R G Sharma b Sidebottom.........  9

S K Raina c L J Wright b Sidebottom.........  2

R A Jadeja c Broad b Swann.........  25

Yuvraj Singh st Foster b Swann.........  17

*†M S Dhoni not out.........  30

Y K Pathan not out......... 33

Extras (lb4 w4).........  8

Total (for 5, 20 overs).........  150

Fall: 1-12 2-24 3-62 4-85 5-87.

Did not bat: Harbhajan Singh, Z Khan, I Sharma, R P Singh.

Bowling: Anderson 4-0-32-0; Sidebottom 4-0-31-2; Broad 4-0-21-0; Pietersen 1-0-9-0; L J Wright 2-0-16-0; Swann 4-0-28-2 Mascarenhas 1-0-9-1.

England win by three runs

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