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The pitch was slow and the outfield fast. India tried five spinners and England a quintet of seamers. And the paths England and India tread to reach their scores of 226 and 230 were remarkably different
March 31, 2006
In the end, the game turned out to be a low-scoring but tight contest. The pitch was slow and the outfield fast. India tried five spinners and England a quintet of seamers. And the paths England and India tread to reach their scores of 226 and 230 were remarkably different.
England crawled to 13 for no loss in their first seven overs while India chopped 43 runs off their target in the same time. But while England picked up the pace with a flurry of boundaries and, more importantly, sustained the run-rate on a sluggish pitch by picking off singles and twos with tremendous ease, India hit a deep rut. England ran 95 singles in their innings while India had 79. Though, in terms of runs, the difference might not seem much, the singles kept England going while the lack of them caused India to struggle in the middle overs. Between overs eight and 20, England added 56 runs while India managed only 28. The following graphic shows the comparison between the teams between during that period.
However, during the slog, England failed to increase the run-rate where India succeeded. In Kevin Pietersen, they had the perfect batsman to bash the ball and he obliged by carting Yuvraj Singh for a four and a six before holing out next ball. After his departure in the 43rd over, England found the fence on just one occasion as they added just 28 runs and lost five wickets in the last seven overs. For India, Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni bided their time, watching as the asking rate increased to beyond six an over, but never letting it get out of hand. It was their ability to put away the loose ball that kept India always in control of the chase. By the end of it, India had hit 23 fours and a six to England's 16 fours and two sixes. The following graphic compares the scoring pattern of the two teams after the 40th over, a period in which India hit seven fours and a six and England just two fours and a six.
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