India makes it four in a row, lifts Hero Honda Cup (Lead)

November 24th, 2008 - 2:02 am ICT by IANS  

Sachin TendulkarBangalore, Nov 24 (IANS) Whether it be a 50-over game or a 22-over rain-interrupted bash, India seem to have the measure of England as the home team defeated the visitors comfortably again in the fourth One-Day International here Sunday and lifted the Hero Honda Cup. On a wet and gloomy Sunday, they tamed the English lion at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium, romping home by 19 runs to take an unassailable 4-0 lead and wrap up the seven-match series.

India made 166 for four in the truncated overs after Man of the Match Virender Sehwag hit a belligerent 69 off 57 balls.

But the target was set to 198 in 22 overs by the Duckworth-Lewis Method and in reply England could manage 178 for eight, though Owais Shah (72) and Andrew Flintoff (41) produced a 48-ball 82-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

Though the Duckworth-Lewis method increased their asking rate to nine runs an over, England ought to blame themselves for the defeat as they consumed too many dot balls at the start of their chase, thereby accentuating the pressure.

Their task became increasingly difficult as India struck quick blows to stifle their hapless opponents.

Munaf Patel struck in his first over as Ishant Sharma brought off a spectacular lunging catch at mid-on to send Ravi Bopara packing. Harbhajan castled a rather subdued Ian Bell while Ishant scalped Kevin Pietersen, as the England captain made room to play an attacking shot.

Shah and Flintoff waged a gutsy battle, but their efforts were not good enough to stop the Indian juggernaut.

Earlier, India took a long 432 minutes to complete their quota of 22 overs and score 166.

Asked to bat first, India were chugging along at 106 for one in 17 overs when a sharp spell of rain interrupted the proceedings.

After the ill-clad ground staff laboured untiringly for three hours to put the rain-infested outfield in order, India made a quickfire 60 in fives over to finish at the imposing 166 for four.

Yuvraj Singh was at the belligerent best smashing three towering sixes in his 11-ball unbeaten 25, each six sailing further and further in the stands. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan, who hit the last and the only ball he faced into the stands, joined the run fest.

But it was Sehwag who lent impetus to the Indian charge, producing a blistering 57-ball 69, embellished with nine boundaries and three sixes.

Sehwag reached a milestone during his onslaught, becoming only the sixth Indian batsman to aggregate 6,000 runs in ODIs, joining the elite band of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Mohammed Azharuddin and Yuvraj.

Gautam Gambhir, batting at number three to accommodate Tendulkar to open with Sehwag, was in good nick as well, driving and flicking with panache during his 28-ball undefeated 30, which included five boundaries.

Tendulkar, playing his first ODI in eight months, was content to play second fiddle to the aggressive Sehwag, before Broad found the gate between the master batsman’s bat and pad to knock back the off stump.

It could be debated if the seven-minute delay in play to reconstruct the boot-damaged bowling crease caused the lapse in Tendulkar’s concentration. For, the Mumbaikar perished in the very ball play was resumed. He made 11 in a partnership of 38.

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