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Yuvi's sixes keep India in last 4 race
September 20, 2007 01:26 IST
Yuvraj Singh [Images] hit six sixes in an over en route to a 14-ball 58 as India beat England [Images] by 18 runs to keep alive their hopes of a berth in the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup, in Durban, on Wednesday night.
Replying to India's imposing total of 218 for four, England could score only 200 for the loss of six wickets from their allotted overs.
The day, however, belonged to Yuvraj, who set the Kingsmead afire, hitting six sixes in a Stuart Broad over.
After the Delhi duo of Virender Sehwag [Images] (68, 52b, 4x4, 3x6) and Gautam Gambhir [Images] (58, 41b, 7x4, 1x6) laid a solid foundation with an opening stand of 136 runs, Yuvraj (58, 16b, 3x4, 7x6) lit up the stadium with the fastest fifty in Twenty20 that came off just 12 balls and included three fours and six sixes.
He also became the first batsman to hit six successive sixes in Twenty20, and the second, after Herschelle Gibbs [Images], in one-dayers.
It was mayhem in the 19th over as Yuvraj hit Broad's first ball over wide long-on and followed it up with a flick that sailed over square leg. The third vanished over extra cover, fourth cleared backward point, fifth soared over mid-wicket and the sixth was smacked over mid-on.
India, meanwhile, have little time to rejoice as they need to win Thursday's match against South Africa to open up a three-way tie for a semi-final berth when run rates come into account.
Earlier in the day, South Africa beat New Zealand by six wickets to keep themselves in the hunt for a berth in semis.
Already out of the tournament, England began their chase in right earnest. Openers Darren Maddy (29) and Vikram Solanki (43 off 31 balls) provided a brisk start and added 53 runs in just 5.3 overs before Irfan Pathan dismissed Maddy.
Solanki and Kevin Pietersen (39 off 23 balls), however, maintained the momentum till Pathan got the former in the 11th over.
Pietersen was looking dangerous till Harbhajan Singh [Images] took a catch off his own bowling after the batsman had whacked a full toss delivery.
Paul Collingwood [Images] (28) and Owais Shah (21) did play some lusty shots but R P Singh came up with a two-wicket burst to dismiss the duo and knock the life out of England's chase.
Earlier, after Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] decided to bat first, Indian openers Sehwag and Gambhir found themselves straitjacketed with Andrew Flintoff [Images], James Anderson and Broad bowling an impeccable line and length.
The first seven overs yielded 35 runs and Sehwag decided he had enough. Accordingly, Dimitri Mascarenhas was greeted with a one-bounce boundary and three balls later, he thumped the bowler over point boundary for maximum, the ball hitting an elderly spectator.
Chris Tremlett had an even worse start to his spell as Sehwag hard-sliced him over third man and Gambhir added salt to injury with a slash that raced to point boundary.
Paul Collingwood almost did the trick with his first delivery but Sehwag's wild swing sent the ball spiraling before falling through Mascarenhas's butter-fingers.
It turned out to be an expensive blunder as the right-hander sent the fourth ball soaring over point boundary and followed it up with a cover drive that went for four to bring up a 38-ball fifty.
Not to be left behind, Gambhir hit Maddy for successive fours and an another boundary off Tremlett earned the left-hander a 36-ball 50.
Both openers had put on 136 runs in 14.3 overs when Tremlett struck, pegging back Sehwag's leg stump as the batsman moved to off to make some room for improvisation.
Gambhir joined him in the pavilion five balls later, when he repeated the scoop against Maddy to find the leg slip, having scored a boundary with the shot in the same over.
Tremlett dealt another blow by castling Robin Uthappa (6) and from 136 for no loss, India slumped to 155 for three in 16.4 overs.
Yuvraj decided to play his own game and back-to-back fours off Flintoff, followed by an exchange of words with the bowler, was surely bad omen for the Englishmen.
Hit for five successive sixes by Dimitri Mascarenhas in a previous match, Yuvraj settled the score today with Broad being at the receiving end of his fury.
Flintoff eventually dismissed Yuvraj with the penultimate delivery of the innings but the damage was done by then.