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Millennium Post

India all set to go for the kill

After rebounding superbly from the Test loss to England with a convincing victory in the Twenty20 series opener, India would be keen to complete a clean sweep of the shortest format by winning the second and final game on Saturday.

Having gained the winning momentum again, the hosts would be eager not to let it go out of grasp especially with the high-profile series against Pakistan to follow immediately after the conclusion of the T20 stint at the Wankhede Stadium.

India will take on Pakistan in a two-match T20 series from December 25 to be followed by a three-game ODI series.

England, who have suffered their first reversal to India in a bilateral T20 game after having lost two others in the World T20 events, would also look forward to squaring the rubber and returning home for Christmas and New Year on a high note.

Though India cantered home on Thursday night, the home team has some issues to solve immediately in both batting and bowling to achieve their aim of a 2-0 whitewash.

In bowling, the beginning and end overs are still a worry with debutant Parvinder Awana, who had a poor game, and Ashok Dinda bowling too short on Thursday to be punished by the hard-hitting Alex Hales who blitzed his way to 56 with seven fours and two sixes.

Though Dinda came back later to bowl well and take two wickets, Awana’s nervousness cost him 29 runs in two overs at either end of the innings and he is expected to give way to Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Abhimanyu Mithun on Saturday.

Even R Ashwin, who started off well and bowled a maiden over to the left-handed Michael Lumb before taking his wicket too, was carted around later to concede 33 runs.

Ravindra Jadeja gave away 22 runs in three and Piyush 24 in the same number of overs.India could have conceded 15-20 more runs, a fact not lost on rival skipper Eoin Morgan.

‘We got off to a fantastic start - Alex and Luke really came together as a pair - but from there we didn’t really kick on,’ said Morgan.

Hales and Wright added 68 runs in quick time, thrashing the Indian bowlers, before Yuvraj turned the match around with a 3-19 spell that included both these batsmen’s wickets as well as Morgan’s.

It was Yuvraj’s experience and his ability to clear the rope at will that helped the home country steady the innings and then surge to a comfortable victory with 13 balls to spare.

The left-handed dasher smashed 38 in 21 balls to help India regain the early advantage. The second T20 will promise enough action as both sides aim for big fillings.


WE HOPE TO CARRY THE MOMENTUM FORWARD: YUVRAJ

Off to a good start in Twenty20s after the ‘shattering’ Test debacle, India batsman Yuvraj Singh said he was confident that the team would carry the momentum not only into the second and final tie against England here in west India on Saturday but also into the upcoming series against arch-foes Pakistan. ‘In Twenty20s and ODIs, we have done well against them Hopefully, we can carry the momentum, particularly with the important series against Pakistan coming up,’ said Yuvraj after India’s five-wicket win over England in Pune on Thursday night. ‘Losing 4-0 (in Test series in England last year) and 2-1 (recently in the four-match Test series at home) was quite shattering. England played better cricket but we beat them 5-0 in the one-dayers (last year),’ said Yuvraj who was part of the Test squad that got beaten by England. Yuvraj said the younger lot of players improved the fielding of the team. ‘It’s important to win the first game and get a good start. If we lose we are again trying to win back. With youngsters coming in the fielding is much better and this win also gives momentum and more confidence for the rest of the series and Pakistan,’ he added.


WE FELL 10-15 RUNS SHORT, CONCEDES ENGLAND’S MORGAN

England Twenty20 captain Eoin Morgan conceded that his side fell short by 10-15 runs after getting off to a blistering start in the lost opening Twenty20 International against India in Pune. ‘We got off to a fantastic start  Alex (Hales) and Luke (Wright) really came together as a pair but from there we didn’t really kick on,’ said Morgan. ‘We lost wickets continuously which halted our momentum and didn’t do us any favours. The total we did creep up to was probably about 10 or 15 short of par,’ said Morgan who is standing in for the injured regular skipper Stuart Broad who has returned home.
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