Monday, February 28, 2011

A most exciting tie

England cricketer Andrew StraussImage via Wikipedia
Andrew Strauss
What a fabulous game of cricket that was, India launched themselves upon England's bowling, led by the magnificent Sachin Tendulkar with 120, and were effortlessly building a huge total until a sudden flurry of wickets brought their innings to a close foreshortened by a single ball.  England's captain Strauss led the way again with a magnificent 158, he was well supported by Ian Bell whose 69 may well have been a ton if cramp hadn't interrupted his batting.

Bell and Strauss fell on consecutive balls to Khan, and with Collingwood and Yardy scratching around for five runs between them, England's middle order had suddenly fallen away exposing the tail to India's bowlers and the rejuvenated sell out crowd.  Runs were suddenly hard to come by, from a rate of over six an over, the rate had soared to needing 32 from 13 when Yardy was out on 13.  Graeme Swann led the final charge, he smacked a six and tried to hold the strike, Yorkshire's Tim Bresnan, also the pick of the bowlers, was in defiant form and his aggressive 14 from 9 balls brought England within touching distance before he swiped at a ball from Chawla and was clean bowled.

Huddersfield lad Ajmal Shazad took to the crease, known more for his bowling than his batting, and England fans held their collective breath, he couldn't get the first ball away, and then boom, he hammers a flat six right over the boundary and the M Chinnaswamy Stadium falls almost silent.  The home fans (and a scattering of England supporters) have seen 675 runs scored in an enthralling match, and now England a single run from the final ball of the innings to tie a match that 15 overs earlier then were winning at a canter.  The wait seemed ages long, Swann and Shazad talking with Billy Bowden to ensure they had their maths correct.

The final ball came down with all results possible, Swann knocked it away and England make a safe run for one of the most exciting drawn matches ever in ODI cricket.  Many people are predicting that ODIs should make way for 20-20, but when they are played between two teams like this, and in such a spirit, they are a fine and thrilling form of the sport.
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