It was India versus England. The passion for the 50-over game is back. It was a nail biter, a teeth clincher; it had blown 1.2 billion in India and billions around the world off their seats. It had the stars of the games performing to take the game to a higher level. It was a spectacle and slap on face of those who said 50 over cricket is dying. It ended with best possible result and both teams though would have wanted it in their favour but also be contented with what happened. It took them 100 overs and still no one could win, it was the first tie of the Cricket World Cup 2011. Andrew Strauss was man of the match for his 158 of 145 balls.
Earlier in the day, India won the toss and did what they do best. India chose to bat and the fire power of Sehwag and Sachin opened the innings. Sehwag in his own uninhibited style cracked some lusty blows to the English pacemen but soon got out at 36 to Bresnan. Sachin took time to settle down and played at a very slow pace; once he got in he smashed Brits to all parts of the ground and added another crown to his Himalaya of records. Sachin eventually got out at 120 in a process to up the ante. All Indian batsmen showed their class today and is a pleasing take away for the men in blue. Gambhir and Yuvraj both got half centuries while Dhoni and Pathan chipped in with cameos. India lost momentum in the batting power play as they lost too many wickets. Once they were looking to cross 350 but had to contend with 338 all out with one ball to spare. English bowling was lacklustre to say least but Bresnan was pick of their bowlers and got a five wicket haul and gave less than five an over of his 10.
At the start of English innings, very few would have placed their money on them but the confident captain in Strauss lead from the front and played risk free, sensible cricket and played out his skin. Strauss almost literally scored one four of every over throughout the innings keeping his side close to the asking rate. Petersen started firing all cylinders from the start before he unfortunately got out to an uppish straight drive of Munaf Patel, who took a splendid catch of his own bowling. Jonathan Trott came and went quickly but Strauss never allowed Indians to build the pressure and kept the asking rate in control. Ian Bell started creaming the bowlers stylishly without taking risk but playing conventional cricket shots, he was lucky to sustain a review for an lbw which looked like a dead duck in front of the stumps. Both of them carried the ship to the 42nd over before Strauss took a debatable decision to call the batting power play and brining the downfall of 4 wickets and arising hope for India. Zaheer Khan clinched 3 important wickets in 2 overs by sending Bell, Strauss, with a power Yorker, and Collingwood back in the pavilion. Swann, Bresnan and Sehzad hit a maximum each a piece resulting the match to tie of the last ball. Indian bowling effort was ordinary and so was the fielding.
It was a victory for the 50 over cricket and initial success script for CWC 2011. Watch out for some more fun in the matches to come.
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