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December 20, 2012
MS Dhoni praised the efforts of his team in the field after India comfortably won the opening Twenty20 in Pune by five wickets. England began well with the bat, through Alex Hales and Luke Wright, before Yuvraj Singh took three wickets to knock the stuffing out of the innings.
India's fielding, which was often shoddy during the Test series, also improved considerably with Ajinkya Rahane claiming three out-field catches and Virat Kohli taking a superb, low, effort at long-on. With Suresh Raina also back in the team there was a far more athletic appearance to India and Dhoni did not have to shield so many slower movers.
The turning point of the match came in the 13th over when Yuvraj, who had already removed Wright, bowled Hales for 56 off 35 balls and two deliveries later had Eoin Morgan, the England captain and leading Twenty20 batsman, caught at long-on. Yuvraj later added 38 off 21 balls which included picking off Danny Briggs' only over for 18.
"Yuvraj was brilliant. He bowled really well and at the right pace," Dhoni said. "I felt each and every bowler, apart from Yuvraj, bowled at least one bad over in the game. But I'm overall very happy with the performance."
"And the fielding, which I wanted the team to do well. I thought we did brilliantly.
"The pressure was on the bowlers," he added. "The way Hales started - he went after the bowlers - that was the difficult part. We all know it's a bit easier to score against the new ball on the sub-continent, particularly in India. It was important from the eighth over that we tried to bring the team back into the game."
Morgan was left frustrated by the way England's batted faded from the position of 89 for 1 in the 11th over. They were also below their best with the ball where they conceded 10 wides after Jade Dernbach set the tone with three in his first over.
"We got off to a great start. Alex Hales played tremendously well along with Luke Wright but in that middle period we failed to kick on and score. That positivity wasn't there in our batting and we lacked about 15 or 20.
"We never seemed to get going again. We continually lost wickets, which is a shame because because the start we had, we were on for a good score. We always thought we were in the game. We lacked a small bit of discipline in our bowling but we were always up against it with that score on the board."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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