Feroz Khan/Zeenews Sports Bureau
Kolkata: India’s hope of meting out an exact treatment to their English counterparts that they suffered earlier in the year was put to rest at the Eden Gardens.
In consonance with their top team status in T20I rankings, England cruised to a 6-wicket victory over India in the lone T20 fixture of their tour of India.
Kevin Pietersen produced a swashbuckling innings of 52 runs that was encrusted with five boundaries and 3 massive hits out of the park. He was ably supported by Samith Patel who apart from scalping a wicket during Indian innings then came on to bat at a time when England were in a spot of bother. He made 21 runs on a tricky wicket that was on the slower side.
Pietersen, probably learning from the mistakes of his team's opening batsmen and India, kept his shots in check after surviving an early scare, avoiding unnecessary charge at the bowlers. However, he never missed an opportunity to score runs, attacking at will. His innings was brought to an end after being given out lbw, a dubious decision as the ball was pitched outside leg.
England had an anxious start to their chase as they lost Keiswetter early in their innings as Jadeja once again proved his utility as a part-time spinner to give England their first blow. By the end of 6 overs and 40 runs later, England had lost their second wicket in the form of Alex Hales, who struggled to deal with the spinners.
This paved the way for Patel to join Pietersen, who then produced the decisive partnership of the match guiding England to their first win of the disappointing tour of India.
Earlier, Indian batsmen failed to continue their ODI form as Steve Finn produced a fine spell where he not only put brakes on charging Indian batsmen but also dealt blows at crucial time to leave the host in all sorts of trouble.
India began their innings on a disastrous note as their openers were removed cheaply within the first two overs of the match. By the end of 6 overs Indian score was 32/3. In between, Suresh Raina entertained the crowd with a few lusty hits over the park but eventually found Bairstow at point while attempting a cut of Finn’s delivery. Finn dealt a double blow with his next ball as Ravindra Jadeja edged the ball on to his stumps while attempting a late cut.
This brought big-hitter Yusuf Pathan on crease, who was playing his first international match since West Indies tour earlier this year. However, he failed to make any substantial contribution to the score as Bopara shattered his stumps after he had made 10 runs.
The biggest disappointment of the day was Robin Uthappa, who after a good show in domestic circuit got a call to play his first international match for India in over three years. He poked a seaming away delivery of Bresnan and ended up handing over a catch to the keeper in the second over.
In the end, India found themselves short of 10-15 runs as a late onslaught from MS Dhoni took them to a decent but gettable total of 120 runs. England bowlers left behind the bitter memories of the recently concluded ODI series to keep the host in search of runs, plucking wickets at the right times.
India, on the other hand, would have hoped that the slow Kolkata pitch and their slow bowlers will come to their rescue but the English batsmen outwitted both of them to finish the tour on a positive note keeping their tag of top dog in T20I intact.
India: RV Uthappa, AM Rahane, V Kohli, SK Raina, MS Dhoni(c), MK Tiwary, YK Pathan, R Ashwin, RA Jadeja, R Vinay Kumar, P Kumar
England: C Kieswetter, AD Hales, KP Pietersen, RS Bopara, JM Bairstow, JC Buttler, SR Patel, TT Bresnan, GP Swann(c), ST Finn, JW Dernbach