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Rediff.com  » Cricket » England beat India by six wickets in Twenty20

England beat India by six wickets in Twenty20

Last updated on: October 29, 2011 22:18 IST

Kevin Pietersen struck a rollicking 53 as England salvaged some pride on an otherwise dismal Indian tour with a comprehensive six-wicket victory over the hosts in the lone Twenty20 International, in Kolkata, on Saturday.

- Scorecard

Pietersen, who missed the visitors' last ODI because of a fractured left thumb, returned in style with a match-winning knock that came off 39 balls as England chased down India's modest 121-run target with eight balls to spare.

After being dropped on one by Suresh Raina, Pietersen hit five boundaries and three sixes en route to his quickfire innings, as the reigning T20 champions proved their supremacy in the shortest format of the game.

Samit Patel was the second-best run-maker for England with a 25-ball 21, while Ravi Bopara remained unbeaten on 14.

Earlier, India produced an ordinary batting performance and were restricted to 120 for nine.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to bat first on a slowish Eden Gardens pitch backfired, as, barring Suresh Raina (39) and the skipper (21) himself, no other batsmen could post a challenge before the determined English attack.

Virat Kolhi and Manoj Tiwary made identical 15s, and towards the end R Ashwin (17) played a short-little cameo to help the home team's cause.

Kevin PietersenRight-arm pacer Steven Finn, who impressed in the just-concluded ODI series, was the pick of the English bowlers with figures of three for 22, while Tim Bresnan (2/19) and part-timer Ravi Bopara (2/16) gave him the perfect support from the other end.

England, however, did not have the best of starts while chasing against an all-spin Indian attack.

Ashwin and Pathan tied down the England openers, but it was left-arm spinner Jadeja who provided the first breakthrough, dismissing Kieswetter for 12 to give a ray of hope to the Indians.

England could have been in further trouble had the otherwise agile Raina not dropped Pietersen in the next over with the star batsman on one.

Three Indian fielders chased for Pietersen's top-edge that came from Ashwin's bowling and, in the end, Raina went for it, only to put it down, in what appeared to be the turning point of the match.

Pathan dismissed the other opener, Alex Hales (11), but Pietersen grew in stature, unperturbed of what was happening around him.

After a cautious start, Pietersen opened up with some good blows against Pathan as he stitched a decisive third wicket 60-run partnership with Samit Patel.

The duo scored 50 runs together from 36 balls as the target looked within reach.

Pietersen completed his half-century from 34 balls, with three sixes and five boundaries, before he was adjudged leg before wicket to Raina, 15 runs short of the target.

But from there on victory was just a formality, as Bopara and Jonny Bairstow (2 not out) ensured that there was no further damage and gave England its first win of the tour.

Earlier, India witnessed a disastrous start, losing both the openers cheaply. Having waited on the sidelines for more than three years, Robin Uthappa's comeback match turned out to be a nightmare. Sent in as opener, he could manage only one.

Uthappa's opening partner, Ajinkya Rahane, who shone with the bat in England as well as in the ODI series at home, too did not last long, falling for a duck.

Uthappa was caught unaware by a rising Bresnan delivery, while Mumbai youngster Rahane disappointed with poor shot selection against Finn, as both were caught behind.

In need of a partnership with the scorecard reading five for two, the in-form Kohli looked in fine nick as he began the repair work with vice-captain Raina.

Kohli, who was the Indian top-scorer in the ODI series, looked in ominous mood before Bresnan cut short his innings, having him brilliantly caught by a running Hales.

But Raina, in debutant Tiwary's company, resurrected the Indian innings with a 40-run fourth wicket stand before being cleaned up by left-arm spinner Patel.

Finn then removed Raina and scalped Jadeja in two successive deliveries, leaving India tottering at 74 for six.

India again banked on Dhoni to marshal the sinking ship, but the captain was a mute spectator when Bopara took two wickets in the form of Pathan (10) and Praveen to add to the home team's misery.

At 91 for eight, India looked in danger of being bowled inside 100, but R Ashwin (17) played a nice cameo in Dhoni's company to take the score to the 120-mark.

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