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Champs India crash out of Twenty20 World Cup

By Harish Kotian at Lord's
Last updated on: June 15, 2009 02:46 IST
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The famed batting line-up failed for the second straight game as India lost to England by three runs and crashed out of the ICC World Twenty20 at Lord's on Sunday.

The defending champions were again found wanting against the short delivery and could put up just 150 for five in their 20 overs in reply to England's 153 for seven.

It turned out to be a disappointing campaign for the Indians, who, apart from beating minnows Bangladesh and Ireland, were completely at sea against tougher opponents like the West Indies and England in the Super Eights.

No Indian batsmen came to terms with the English attack, which made good use of the occasional bouncer, and rarely let the batsmen off the hook.

Yusuf Pathan made a valiant attempt at the end, scoring 33 from 17 deliveries, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni got 30 from 20, as the two batsmen put up a 63-run partnership in six overs for the sixth wicket. However, it was too late; a mediocre showing by the top order had already played a big part in India's downfall.

Looking back, promoting Jadeja up the batting order was a huge mistake. The all-rounder, playing his first match in the tournament, struggled, thereby stalling the momentum. Yuvraj was left with too much to do, and when he failed, Dhoni's poor form with the bat came to the fore.

Jadeja had earlier bagged two for 26 in four overs as India restricted England. Kevin Pietersen provided England the impetus with a quick 46 from 27 deliveries, while Ravi Bopara hit run-a-ball 37.

India next plays South Africa on Tuesday in what will now be an inconsequential Super Eights match.

England:

Zaheer Khan bowled a tight first over, conceding just three runs. And the pressure paid off in the next, as Luke Wright gifted his wicket.

RP Singh, playing his first match of the tournament, got Wright (1) to top-edge an intended pull shot which was neatly held by Yusuf Pathan, running to his left at short fine leg. (3-1, 1.4)

Kevin Pietersen started his vigil at the crease with a nice flick through the leg side off Zaheer in the third over that went for a boundary. RP Singh showed great control, giving away just seven runs in his first two overs and also claimed the early wicket.

Pietersen, though, seemed desperate to impose himself. He walked across the wicket and flicked Ishant Sharma for a boundary through midwicket in the fifth over. Ishant's mediocre performance with the ball continued as he dropped short and Bopara pulled for a six through square leg to take England to 34 for one after five overs.

In the next over, Pietersen again danced down the wicket; this time he crashed RP Singh straight down the ground for a boundary.

India then took a gamble with the early introduction of Yuvraj Singh, who enjoys a good bowling record against Pietersen. But it was Bopara, who welcomed him to the crease with a cracking boundary through covers before Pietersen ended the over the same way, a powerfully swept boundary through fine leg, as England picked 11 runs from that over.

The two batsmen suddenly seemed to have changed gears as they brought up a 50-run partnership in just 35 deliveries, in the eighth over of the innings.

The Yuvraj experiment was a complete failure, as 20 runs came off his two overs. He made way for another part-timer in Ravindra Jadeja. However, that move paid off for the champions.

The left-arm spinner started his spell with the wicket of Bopara, who scored 37 from as many deliveries. The England opener gave himself room and tried to loft one over the off-side but Jadeja was equal to the task and bowled a quicker delivery, which crashed into the stumps. (74-2, 10.5)

Bopara had given England a solid platform with a 71-run partnership for the second wicket with Pietersen.

Pietersen continued his free-flowing approach and dismissed a full toss from Jadeja for a six over midwicket and into the stands. But the 20-year-old Jadeja had his revenge the very next delivery when he trapped Pietersen leg before wicket.

The England batsman, who scored 46 from 27 deliveries, inclusive of five boundaries and a six, went for the slog-sweep but was beaten by a quicker, full delivery and trapped right in front. (92-3, 13)

India then pulled back things a bit as just eight runs came from the next two overs, as England reached 100 for three after 15.

Ishant failed to learn from the mistakes of his previous matches and continued bowling short. He was promptly despatched for two boundaries in the 16th over by Dimitri Mascarenhas and Owais Shah. He finished with disappointing returns of 36 runs from his four overs.

But Jadeja impressed with the ball, finishing with two for 26 in four overs in just his first match in the tournament.

The youngster, dubbed as the 'next big star' of Indian cricket by his Rajasthan Royals' captain Shane Warne, was in the thick of action yet again.

Shah hit a slog-sweep off Harbhajan straight to Jadeja at the midwicket boundary for 12 from 10 deliveries. (122-4, 17.2)

Captain Paul Collingwood scored just seven before he was dismissed leg before wicket, attempting a reverse sweep against pacer Zaheer. (138-5, 18.3)

England were not able to get the big boundaries away in the slog overs, and Harbhajan made sure that India ended it well with two wickets in the final over of the innings.

James Foster offered a simple return catch back to Harbhajan for 6 and Graeme Swann was bowled off the next delivery for a duck.

In between, India's sloppy fielding came to the fore again as Yuvraj misfielded at short fine leg to give away an easy boundary.

Mascarenhas was unbeaten on 25 from 26 deliveries as England posted 153 for seven in their 20 overs.

Harbhajan was the most successful bowler, claiming three for 30 in four overs that included 10 runs from wides, but the best bowling performance for India came from Jadeja.

In the end, India will be happy to have kept England around the 150-run mark, even though they scored 53 from the last five overs.

Their real test will come with the bat now. It will be interesting to see how the Indian batting line-up performs under pressure. One bad performance could see them being knocked out.

India:

England opening bowlers, James Anderson and Ryan Sidebottom, tested the Indian openers early with a few short deliveries, a ploy the West Indies bowlers used with great success a couple of days back.

Rohit Sharma seemed keen not to let the bowlers dictate terms, but that same approach cost him his wicket for 9. He was bowled off a thick inside edge as he attempted to pull a delivery from Sidebottom that did not look that short in length. India were in early trouble again. (12-1, 1.5)

Gautam Gambhir ensured that India did not go off the boil after that early wicket and hit consecutive boundaries off Anderson in the third over.

But the Indian batsmen, it appeared, did not learn from their mistakes in their previous match. Again, the short deliveries were proving too much for them to handle.

Sidebottom surprised Suresh Raina with a quick short one, which the left-hander top edged and was taken by Wright at the midwicket fence for 2. (24-2, 3.4)

Ravindra Jadeja tried his best to self-destruct as he also tried to take on the short deliveries from Stuart Broad in the fifth over. His first attempt fell safe on the leg side between fielders, while the second narrowly missed the edged of the bat.

The Indian top order was struggling as the England pacers went all out. This was the same Indian team which, despite losing their last match, opted not to practice on Saturday. Did the lack of preparation hurt them in this do-or-die contest?

Part-timer Kevin Pietersen was introduced in the eighth over and, immediately, Gambhir went after him with a lofted boundary over the cover region.

Even medium pacer Luke Wright, having witnessed Jadeja's weakness against the short delivery, tried it first up and Jadeja nearly hit to the midwicket fielder. But the youngster got one off the middle of his bat and breached the gap between the square leg and fine leg fielder for his first boundary in the ninth over.

The Indian innings was going nowhere as they reached 59 for two at the halfway stage, with both Jadeja and Gambhir unable to force things.

England's pressure tactics paid off when Gambhir played a paddle sweep straight to the short fine leg fielder off Mascarenhas. The left-hander, who made 26 from as many deliveries, was involved in a slow partnership of 38 from 43 deliveries that saw the required run rate cross the nine-run mark. (62-3, 10.4)

New batsman Yuvraj Singh, who walked to the middle to a huge cheer, announced himself immediately by hitting the first delivery he faced from Mascarenhas for a huge straight six.

His second six was against off-spinner Swann, whom he thumped straight over his head for a flat six as India finally looked to get going.

But Swann turned things around quite magnificently, claiming two wickets in his third over.

First to go was Jadeja, who, after a painstaking innings of 25 from 35 deliveries, hit one straight to the long-on fielder.

Three balls later, India's hopes were all but dashed when wicketkeeper James Foster came up with a sharp piece of glove work to stump Yuvraj for 17 off Swann in the 14th over.

India's best batsman was back in the dugout and they now faced a stiff task of scoring 67 from the last six overs.

Dhoni once again struggled to get going at the start of his innings and could only manage quick singles. With 60 needed from the last five, Yusuf Pathan launched Swann for a huge six over the leg-side but with Dhoni not at his best at the other end, the match was slowly drifting away from India's grasp.

India got a boundary each off Wright and Anderson in successive overs, leaving them the task of scoring 28 from the last 12 deliveries.

But Broad, bowling with six men on the off-side, kept his composure and gave away just eight runs despite the batsmen trying every shot in the book.

Yusuf kept everyone interested when he hit a straight six off Sidebottom to make it nine needed from the last two deliveries, but a single off the next delivery sealed India's hopes.

In the end, it was a lacklustre performance by the Indians as they finished on 150 for five in their 20 overs and lost by three runs.

The team will now hope to end with a consolation victory in their last match against South Africa before jetting off to the West Indies for a four-match ODI series.

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Harish Kotian at Lord's
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