An Indian victory in England continues to be a mirage that teases and torments M.S. Dhoni’s men. England yet again defeated India in a tour that has been devoid of redemption for the `Men in Blue.’
On a wet Tuesday that suddenly turned dry just in time for the second match of the NatWest ODI series, which was reduced to 23 overs per side, England defeated India by seven wickets. Chasing India’s 187 for eight, England scored 188 for three in 22.1 overs with `Man of the Match’ Alastair Cook leading the way with a captain’s knock (80 n.o., 63b, 5×4, 1×6).

The pursuit required a breathless assault atop the order and that is precisely what Craig Kieswetter (46, 25b, 4×4, 3×6) dished out against the combined wares of the Kumars – Praveen and Vinay, R. Ashwin and Munaf Patel. Kieswetter smote Vinay and Ashwin, tucked into Praveen and also watched a thick edge off Munaf, fly over third-man. The abridged first Power Play of five overs went for 56 runs while Cook played second fiddle.

Vinay finally darted one in and ruffled Kieswetter’s pads but that did not stem the run-flow as Ian Bell joined forces with Cook. Bell thumped past the off-side, Cook muscled over mid-wicket against Virat Kohli and Ashwin to help England stay ahead of the race. Kohli dropped a sharp chance in his follow through while Bell lunged and later the fielder made amends when the batsman tried to scoop Ashwin over short-cover.

Ravi Bopara then walked in and another partnership took shape. Cook kept pegging away, Bopara moved inside the line and clouted a few and by the time he succumbed, India was resigned to another dreary night lost in defeat’s shadow.

Earlier the game seemed headed for a washout when the weather gods suddenly relented and the match finally commenced at 7 p.m. local time with Cook opting to field on winning the toss.

The host skipper soon watched Parthiv Patel unleash a blitz against Tim Bresnan. The seamer went for 26 in his opening spell of two overs and Parthiv’s whipped six over square-leg and the deft four past third-man, stood out for the sheer disdain that powered those shots. England gained some respite when Parthiv feathered a snick off James Anderson, pondered about going for a review, had a word with Ajinkya Rahane and then trudged away.

Rahane ,turning out to be the find of the tour, picked up from where Parthiv left and the opener’s astounding six off Stuart Broad over mid-wicket kept India chugging along at a merry canter. Rahane controlled his strokes to a nicety be it pulling Jade Dernbach or dancing down the track and lofting Graeme Swann while at the other end, Rahul Dravid upper-cut Broad for four. Rahane and Dravid added 79 runs for the second wicket off 68 deliveries.

India then lost three wickets as Swann (three for 33) threatened to put the skids on the scoring rate. Dravid failed to drill one past short mid-on, Kohli picked Bell on the long-on fence and a tiring Rahane watched England’s off-spinner pluck an overhead catch in his follow through. Swann’s caught and bowled was one among the three scintillating catches that England pouched through the Indian innings with the other two being Ben Stokes’ effort to snap up Suresh Raina and Bell’s athleticism to get rid of Manoj Tiwary.

Thankfully for India the interlude between the cluster of wickets in the middle and the final overs, was lit up Raina’s belligerence as he cleared his front foot and hit through the line. Dernbach’s variations drew no respect from the southpaw as the ball vanished into the stands and Swann was deposited past cover while India finished with a total that appeared competitive at the dinner break but in the end proved inadequate against an England team that holds a distinct psychological edge.

The scores.

India: Parthiv Patel c Kieswetter b Anderson 28 (18b, 3×4, 2×6), A. Rahane c & b Swann 54 (47b, 5×4, 1×6), R. Dravid c Anderson b Swann 32 (31b, 2×4), V. Kohli c Bell b Swann 9 (9b), S. Raina c Stokes b Bresnan 40 (19b, 3×4, 3×6), M.S. Dhoni c Bell b Bresnan 6 (5b, 1×4), M. Tiwary c Bell b Bresnan 11 (7b, 1×4), R. Ashwin (run out) 1 (1b), Praveen Kumar (not out) 0 (1b). Extras (lb-2, w-4): 6. Total (for eight wkts., in 23 overs): 187.

Power Plays: First (Overs 1 – 5): 36/1; Bowling (6 – 7): 14/0; Batting (20 – 21): 28/1.

Fall of wickets: 1-30 (Parthiv), 2-109 (Dravid), 3-125 (Kohli), 4-143 (Rahane), 5-164 (Dhoni), 6-182 (Raina), 7-186 (Tiwary), 8-187 (Ashwin).

England bowling: Bresnan 4-0-43-3, Anderson 3-0-11-1, Broad 3-0-25-0, Dernbach 5-0-50-0, Bopara 2-0-13-0, Swann 5-0-33-3, Samit 1-0-11-0.

England: A. Cook (not out) 80 (63b, 5×4, 1×6), C. Kieswetter lbw b Vinay 46 (25b, 4×4, 3×6), I. Bell c Kohli b Ashwin 25 (16b, 4×4), R. Bopara c Kohli b Ashwin 24 (20b, 3×4), S. Patel (not out) 9 (9b). Extras (lb-2, w-2): 4. Total (for three wkts., in 22.1 overs): 188.

Power Plays: One (Overs 1 – 5): 56/0; Bowling (6 – 7): 19/1; Batting (22 – 23): 5/0.
Fall of wickets: 1-67 (Kieswetter), 2-105 (Bell), 3-165 (Bopara).
India bowling: Praveen 4-0-41-0, Vinay 4.1-0-33-1, Ashwin 5-0-42-2, Munaf 5-0-35-0, Kohli 3-0-22-0, Raina 1-0-13-0.

Keywords: Indian victory , teases , M.S. Dhoni, redemption ,Men in Blue, NatWest ODI series, Man of the Match,Alastair Cook , Craig Kieswetter , Kumars ,Praveen , Vinay, R. Ashwin , Munaf Patel,, second fiddle, Ian Bell , Virat Kohli ,Ravi Bopara , skipper,Parthiv Patel , Tim Bresnan,James Anderson, ,Ajinkya Rahane , Rahane , Graeme Swann ,Rahul Dravid ,, off-spinner , Suresh Raina ,Manoj Tiwary.