India v England, 1st T20I, Pune December 20, 2012

All-round Yuvraj powers India to victory

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India 158 for 5 (Yuvraj 38) beat England 157 for 6 (Hales 56, Yuvraj 3-19) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Yuvraj Singh's decade-long attempt to secure a permanent spot in the Test team may have been thwarted once again this month, but in the first Twenty20 against England he once again showed why he is indispensable in limited-overs formats. First, his spell of left-arm spin upended England's innings and then his burst of hitting smoothened India's path to a comprehensive victory.

In the first international match at the Subrata Roy Stadium in Pune, Alex Hales and Luke Wright had muscled 68 in seven overs for the second wicket as England rattled along at more than 10 an over. Hales began with two powerful pulls for four in the first over, and then showed off his straight-hitting to sprint to a 26-ball half-century, his fourth for England. Unlike Hales, Wright hadn't spent time in India with the England Performance Programme squad but he too played a fluent boundary-filled innings, not flustered by the change in conditions from the Big Bash League in Australia.

Yuvraj's introduction in the ninth over transformed the game. He was the seventh bowler MS Dhoni turned to as India desperately searched for ways to stall the runs, and he immediately delivered. Five of the previous six overs had been punished for 10 runs or more, but Yuvraj in his first gave away just five singles. In his next, he had Luke Wright caught at long-off. In his third, Hales was dropped by Dhoni, then bowled before England captain Eoin Morgan gave long-on a catch. The triple-blow sucked out the momentum from the innings, and by the end of his spell the run-rate was down to around seven-and-a-half.

Ashok Dinda, leading India's pace attack though he himself is fairly new to international cricket, delivered the perfect penultimate over, taking two wickets and giving away only two runs. Either side of that though, Dhoni's go-to bowler in Twenty20s, R Ashwin, and debutant fast bowler Parvinder Awana were hit for two sixes in an over each as Jos Buttler's unbeaten 33 lifted England to 157.

That was a score India looked happy to concede on a good track in a stadium with short boundaries. Their task was made easier by the poor line of England's new-ball bowlers, who gifted plenty of runs down the leg side. Ajinkya Rahane, a near-permanent fixture on the India bench, finally got a chance in the middle, and he jumpstarted the chase with a couple of straight sixes.

Though Tim Bresnan got his first international wickets since September by removing both Rahane and Gautam Gambhir in the fifth over, Yuvraj kept the large crowd cheering with a 21-ball 38. That included an onslaught on left-arm spinner Danny Briggs, who was taken for 18 in his only over of the game. Soon after, Yuvraj top-edged a pull off Luke Wright for six and though he connected solidly on the next delivery as well, it soared too high and didn't clear the rope, falling in the hands of Stuart Meaker.

India were already 93 for 3 in the 10th over by the time Yuvraj was dismissed, and Suresh Raina and Dhoni weren't unduly troubled as India knocked off the runs required to confirm victory in the 18th over.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Al_Bundy1 on December 22, 2012, 15:34 GMT

    Yuvraj is great in shorter formats, but India should not depend on him so much. It's time to groom other all-rounders - like B Kumar of UP or Rishi Dhawan of HP, or Stuart Binny of Karnataka. Irfan Pathan is a reliable all-rounder for the shorter formats, but he's on the injured list right now.

  • dummy4fb on December 22, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    No matter how ordinary Yuvraj is he comes handy whenever India needs him to perform in shorter formats. Pakistan or Srilanka do not possess the same luxury in Afridi or Mathews. For Bangladesh absence of Shakib is also going to be felt less as they can now win whole series without him. All I can say dependence on one player is not healthy for any team in the long run. Team synergy is more important. How it fails can be proven from the last humiliation of New Zealand. Mccullum did not fire, they are done. Gayle also in same vulnerability for WIndies but Australia or RSA do not depend the same way on Watson or Kallis.

  • bhrangi on December 22, 2012, 8:06 GMT

    @Optic : What do you mean by full strength? It is T20 anything can happen who knows next match , England may win. This form and ODI is completely different and we are considerably good in it. Test and ODI are my most favorite, i would be happy when India won ODI series but not at this T20 win, @Shan : Again mate, I never said England wouldn't have won when in-form VVS and Dravid were there,at least they would have showed some fight in 2nd and 3rd test. Now England is at its best in TEST and everyone accept that but when you lose in T20 or ODI dont talk like that format we never cared thats why we lose.??

  • Warm_Coffee on December 21, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    Yuvraj Singh is an ordinary all-rounder.

  • dummy4fb on December 21, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    I am not optimistic about the wining of 2nd T20. India may lose because they are not consistent enough against England in this whole series.

    In the test series I would rather say that India played worst cricket than England played good since India can't make it mainly in batting department against the ordinary English attack.

  • Silverbails on December 21, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    OMG, India have actually WON a match Vs. England. Does it matter? No, certainly NOT!! It's absolutely typical of the Indians...when there's NOTHING to play for, their intensity increases. And that ONLY for the shortest version of the game. The sooner this tour is over, then the better for the ridiculous indians...No, ONLY when their Test results improve dramatically for the Indians will things actually be getting better!!! T20 and ODI cricket mean NOTHING!!!

  • JG2704 on December 21, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    @Nampally on (December 20 2012, 21:59 PM GMT) And Prior was pretty decent too. Trott didn't do too badly towards the end either.

    @Hammond on (December 20 2012, 21:55 PM GMT) I think you can probably rearrange the words in the 2nd sentence and it would be more accurate

    @spiritwithin on (December 21 2012, 09:42 AM GMT) To be fair when England won the T20 and ODI series in UAE , most of our fans (the regulars anyway) saw it as a mere consolation after losing the tests so there is an element of consistency. Cheerleaders will be cheerleaders regardless. If you look at the squads we've selected for both the T20s and ODIs with our best player Swann rested from both and KP rested from T20s it might tell you how our management are seeing the series

  • Shan156 on December 21, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge, I don't know, I think Indian batsmen, at least in the shorter formats, are really good and they are very good at playing spin regardless of format. I would like to think that it says a lot about the wonderful bowling of Swanny and Monty rather than some inept batting by India for us to win the test series convincingly.

  • Shan156 on December 21, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    @CandidIndian, Thank you. You were gracious in appreciating England for a series win and have always remained humble in victory. And you have always displayed your love for and knowledge in cricket in your posts. I wish every fan were like you. Best wishes mate.

  • cjscanada on December 21, 2012, 18:11 GMT

    @Nutclet you are right that the current Indian players gulps down the dessert and wallops the appetizer but they have no stomach for the main course but please spare me the talk and I mean some of the other English fans too a defeat is a defeat irrespective whatever side you choose. Some of those who give excuses that this is not the same Test squad, India too does not have two of their top scorers and Ojha. This is irrelevant though. It is a good move by England to have different sets of players cause you do not want to cultivate the bad habits of T20 into Test. For those of you who think India is back into business with this win, if you meant the fans, I do not think that is right. The posts coming from the Indian fans have been a lot more positive and they are still hurting from the pathetic performance of the Tests. I do not think most of the fans would be happy even if we whitewash the English and the Pakistani's in the shorter version, it is the Test matches that hurt us most.

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