England survive daring Dhoni blitz

England

The big-hitting Mahendra Singh Dhoni's quickfire cameo was not enough to upstage the talented Eoin Morgan's commanding half-century, as England welcomed a tight three-run triumph over India in Sunday's one-off Twenty20 International at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

The big-hitting Mahendra Singh Dhoni's quickfire cameo was not enough to upstage the talented Eoin Morgan's commanding half-century, as England welcomed a tight three-run triumph over India in Sunday's one-off Twenty20 International at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Morgan top-scored with a dashing 71 in England's 180 for seven after he won the toss.
Nevertheless, India – in the final match of their tour of England – were cruising to victory while Virat Kohli (66) was at the crease.

But when he was out India lost their way and they needed 17 off the last over, bowled by Chris Woakes, to win. But, importantly, Dhoni, one of the world's most dynamic limited-overs batsmen, was facing and he promptly launched the first ball of the over over square-leg for six.

The next ball saw India complete a risky two as Dhoni retained the strike. Dhoni failed to score off the third ball but mishit the fourth off paceman Woakes for a boundary over long-off.

India now needed five to win off two balls. Dhoni then edged Woakes to square leg but refused a single that would have put Ambati Rayudu on strike. That left him needing a six off the last ball to win the match or four to send the game into a super over.

But no boundary came as England held on for victory. Former Ireland left-hander Morgan had managed just 198 runs in his last 10 one-day international innings. But the number five showed his class in a 31-ball knock which included three fours and seven sixes.

Alex Hales made 40 and all-rounder Ravi Bopara 21 not out off nine balls as England scored 67 in the last four overs, with India's 'death bowling' – an area Dhoni has said they must improve if they are to retain their 50-over World Cup title in Australia and New Zealand early next year – again proving a problem.

India paceman Mohammed Shami led the tourists' attack with three for 38 in his maximum four overs. Meanwhile, Ajinkya Rahane held four catches, including a superb grab to dismiss opener Hales.

Jason Roy, given an England debut after topping this season's domestic T20 scoring charts with 677 runs for Surrey, fell for eight when he drove Shami to Rahane at extra-cover. And 26 for one became 27 for two when Moeen Ali fell for a duck by chipping Mohit Sharma to Rahane.

Rahane also ended Hales's 25 ball-knock. Hales hit a huge skyer off left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja and Rahane, running in and across from the long-on boundary, held a brilliant diving catch when it seemed the ball would fall safe.

Morgan, however, launched Karn Sharma over long-on and midwicket for two sixes.
He also drove Mohit Sharma for two huge sixes off successive balls at the end of the 19th over before he was well-caught in the deep by Rahane off Shami.

After opener Ajinkya Rahane fell early in India's run-chase, left-hander Shikhar Dhawan (33) and Kohli put on 79 for the second wicket. Kohli struck Birmingham-born off-spinner Ali over 'cow corner' for six. before he holed out off fast bowler Steven Finn, having faced 41 balls, including nine fours.

It was the talented batsman's lone half-ton in all international formats this tour after he struggled in both England's three-one Test series win and the subsequent one-day campaign, which India won by the same margin. His exit left India 131 for three in the 15th over and England were back in the game.

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