MS Dhoni and his team struck again and won their 5th ODI match against England at Cuttack by 6 wickets. Chasing a competitive total of 270, India comfortably cruised through to make 273 for 4 with 38 balls to spare. Virendra Sehwag blistering 91 off 72 balls and his opening partnership with Sachin Tendulkar (50) of 136 runs ensured that there was no pressure for chase that total. Sehwag was awarded Man of the Match award and with his present form he is one of the top contenders for Man of the Series award as well.
Winning the toss earlier, MS Dhoni choose to field as dew factor later on would make bowlers struggle and would make it easy for the batsman and that’s what happened. England made a score of 270 for loss of 4 wickets with Captain Kevin Pietersen getting 111 (not out). India started off nicely as pacer Zaheer Khan struck twice to dismiss openers Alistair Cook and Ravi Bopara. Cook was first to depart, as a good length delivery that was going outside the off-stump took an outside edge of his bat and landed in the hands of Tendulkar at the first slip. He could make just 10 runs.
His opening partner Bopara survived a scare but finally perished for 24 runs. He tried to play it up but went straight to Yuvraj Singh standing at the backward point.
Kevin Pietersen (111*), who came after Cook’s departure, held the fort for his side. He first had an 89-run partnership with Paul Collingwood for the third wicket. Harbhajan broke their partnership. In the next over of Ishant Sharma, Flintoff edged one to Sachin Tendulkar at slips without any addition to the score.
Pietersen was then joined by Owais Shah (66*) and the duo had an unbeaten partnership of 112 runs for the fifth wicket. While Pietersen raised seventh hundred, his second against India, Shah got his ninth ODI fifty.
Chasing 273, India started good with both Virendra Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar putting 136 for the first wicket. Yuvraj Singh joined Sehwag but with mere 20 runs partnership Yuvraj returned the catch to the bowler Bopara and departed with only 6 runs contribution and immediately next over Sehwag departed with a doubtful decision by the umpire. He was adjourned leg before though replay showed the ball was going leg side.
After Sehwag departure Dhoni and Raina steered the Indian Innings and finally was completed by Rohit Sharma with 38 balls to spare.
Will India go ahead and clinch the series 7-0? Will England try and salvage some pride by winning the next two? We gotta just wait and watch but for now time to rejoice. Three cheers for the Indian Team; for Dhoni’s captainship and Sehwag’s great form!