Yuvraj stars as India beat England


Inspired by Yuvraj Singh’s electrifying show in the field, India defeated England by five wickets at the picturesque Sahara Cricket Stadium in Pune. Yuvraj, the last of seven bowlers used by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, 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 10 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 here.
It did not help the tourists’ cause when new-ball pair Jade Dernbach and Tim Bresnan both started with wides, the first of 10 England would bowl.
Dernbach was guilty of three, in fact, 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 – his first successes in international cricket on this near two-month tour. 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, 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 off an under-edge, however, trying to pull the slippery pace of Meaker – and Morgan missed one more golden chance to pull his team back into the match.
When Dhoni fell over and was stranded mid-pitch, having set off for a single, his opposite number produced another wild aim on England’s night of wides as the run-out opportunity went begging with more than 40 runs still needed. Hales had been almost single-handedly responsible for getting England’s innings off to such a promising start. He dispatched Ashok Dinda for successive pulled fours in the first over – and after Michael Lumb was then unable to stop Ravichandran Ashwin beginning with a maiden, Hales took a heavy toll of first-change debutant Parvinder Awana and then Ravindra Jadeja. He hit Jadeja for six over long-on, and repeated the dose off Ashwin too to take the score to 51 for one after the six-over powerplay.
Hales raced to his 50 from just 26 balls, with seven fours and those two sixes – and he and Wright took the score to 89 for one at the 10-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. Yuvraj had Morgan dropped by wicketkeeper Dhoni on four, but bowled Hales who missed a drive at the very next ball – and then got the England captain for good measure in the same over, via another mistimed shot high to long-on. Piyush Chawla’s first over had cost 15 runs, but Dhoni took his chance to recall the leg-spinner – who bowled his next two for nine as Patel and Jos Buttler tried to rebuild.
They progressed exclusively in ones, between the dots, for the next 16 balls – until Buttler clubbed the returning Ashwin over midwicket for six.
Patel’s attempt at a maximum, however, resulted only in a third catch in the deep for Rahane off Dinda.
England had lost telling momentum – and despite the best efforts of the innovative Buttler in a career-best 33 not out, including successive sixes in Awana’s 20th over, they could not redress the balance.

Michael Lumb lbw b Ashwin 1
Alex Hales b Yuvraj 56
Luke Wright c Rahane b Yuvraj 34
Eoin Morgan c Rahane b Yuvraj 5
Samit Patel c Rahane b Dinda 24
Jos Buttler not out 33
Tim Bresnan c Kohli b Dinda 0
James Tredwell not out 1
Did not bat: Stuart Meaker, Danny Briggs, Jade Dernbach
Extras: 3 b:0 lb:2 nb:0 w:1 3
Total: for six 157
FOW: Michael Lumb (21-1, 3.1), Luke Wright (89-2, 10.1), Alex Hales (99-3, 12.2), *Eoin Morgan (100-4, 12.4), Samit Patel (138-5, 18.1), Tim Bresnan (139-6, 18.4)
Bowling: Ashok Dinda 3-0-18-2, R Ashwin 4-1-33-1, Parvinder Awana 2-0-29-0, Ravindra Jadeja 3-0-22-0, Piyush Chawla 3-0-24-0, Virat Kohli 1-0-10-0, Yuvraj Singh 4-0-19-3
Gautam Gambhir c Hales b Bresnan 16
Ajinkya Rahane c Patel b Bresnan 19
Virat Kohli b Meaker 21
Yuvraj Singh c Meaker b Wright 38
Suresh Raina run out (Morgan) 26
MS Dhoni not out 24
Ravindra Jadeja not out 0
Extras: 14 b:0 lb:4 nb:0 w:10 28
Total: for five 158
FOW: Gautam Gambhir (42-1, 4.3), Ajinkya Rahane (44-2, 5), Yuvraj Singh (93-3, 10), Virat Kohli (110-4, 12.1), Suresh Raina (148-5, 17.1)
BOWLING: Jade Dernbach 3-0-27-0, Tim Bresnan 3-0-26-2, Stuart Meaker 3.5-0-28-1, James Tredwell 4-0-31-0, Danny Briggs 1-0-18-0, Luke Wright 3-0-24-1