Birmingham, Sep 7 :
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s poor judgement in refusing singles in two balls in the last over saw India going down by three runs to England in a thrilling finish in the one-off Twenty20 international at Edgbaston here Sunday.
A blistering 71 off 31 balls from captain Eoin Morgan helped England post an imposing total of 180 for seven. Morgan, who hit seven sixes and three fours, was also adjudged Man of the Match.
Chasing a target of 181, India needed 16 runs in the last over. Dhoni, who remained unbeaten on 27 from 18 balls, refused to take a single in the second and the fifth ball and it left him a tough task of scoring five from the last ball. But instead of hitting a six, Dhoni managed to swing it towards the leg side for a single as India finished in 177 for five.
Dhoni’s decision to retain the strike and not attempting singles in the last over baffled many as his partner Ambati Rayudu (3 not out) is also a clean striker but was making his debut in T20 international.
It was Virat Kohli’s 66 that put India on course but Dhoni’s poor decision cost India the match. Kohli struck nine fours and a six in his 41-ball innings while Shikhar Dhawan (33) and Suresh Raina (25) also came up with valuable contributions.
England pacer Harry Gurney and Chris Woakes put on a fine performance in the last two overs. India needed 26 runs in the last two overs an with a seasoned finisher in Dhoni at the crease the visitors seemed the favourites. It was impossible for the Indian batsmen to get the big hits. They managed just six sixes in the whole innings while England had 11, seven of them hit by Morgan.
Gurney, playing only his second T20 international, bowled an impressive penultimate conceding just nine runs. Woakes despite being hit for a six in the first ball of the last over held his nerve to take England to a win.
Earlier in the day, riding on a blistering 71 off 31 balls from Morgan helped England recover from an unimpressive start to put a big score on board. Alex Hales (40) and Joe Root (26) also made valuable contributions.
The win marked the end of a tour in which England came from 0-1 behind to win the Test series 3-1 but were beaten heavily by a similar margin in the ODIs.
Took a chance but it didn’t pay off: Dhoni
Dhoni Sunday defended his decision to refuse singles in the last over saying it was a chance that he took but didn’t pay off as the visitors went down by three runs to England in a thrilling finish in the one-off Twenty20 international here at Edgbaston.
“In the last over, I missed at least two I could have hit over the boundary, it was a difficult task and one of those days when it didn’t go our way. I thought I’m middling it I have a good chance but it didn’t pay off,” said Dhoni, who refused singles in two balls in the last over.
Dhoni said it was a good chase but felt his bowlers gave away too many runs in the last over. England scored 81 runs in the last five overs.
“Overall I thought the chase was good but we probably gave away too many runs in the latter overs but we bowled well in the middle. (Mohammed) Shami is someone who does bowl yorkers but isn’t consistent. But 180 was a score we should have got. There were quite a few excellent catches taken and that was the reason we kept them to 180. Overall it’s a good tour for us, we came back strongly in the ODIs,” he said.
England skipper Eoin Morgan, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his whirlwind 71, said there was little room for error.
“Throughout the whole game the guys held their nerve very well,” Morgan said.
“We got to a good score and then the bowler’s were exceptional. There’s little margin for error when Dhoni’s at the crease but they were great. The short ball suited conditions. We felt the full ball was easy hit. The wicket played pretty well, to get up to 180 was really good. I’ve gone through some tough times with the bat and come through them before but it was nice to get a get a few today,” he added.