England 169-4 (19.3 overs) beat India 165 by six wickets
It’s England 5 India 0, but last night’s T20 was far closer than any of the test matches. We only just edged it – with ‘edge’ being the operative word.
With Bopara and Patel at the crease, it looked like England might blow it from what, in T20 terms, was an impregnable position. It was only sheer luck, and the edge of Patel’s bat, which saw us home: with ten needed off the final over, two streaky boundaries down to third man proved crucial.
It was a bit of a surreal finish to be honest. Patel and Bopara were relieved to see England home, but neither of them played well. Bopara in particular looked scratchy, fretful and did nothing to suggest that he has the temperament for the big occasion.
The performance of both batsmen raised more questions – and eyebrows – than it provided answers. Bopara’s 31 off 36 balls could well have lost England the game. When he was unable to muster more than three runs off the penultimate over, bowled by Munaf Patel, it looked like England were going to fall short of India’s total despite having six batsmen left in the hutch – a cardinal sin in any limited overs contest.
At the end of the day, it was the proven pedigree of Eoin Morgan, who scored a much more palatable 49 off 27, who won the game for England. The performance of Jade Dernbach was also highly encouraging; his Franklyn Stephenson-esque slower balls bamboozled several batsmen and stopped India’s charge in its tracks. Could he be the death bowler we’ve been looking for?
At the end of the day, we shouldn’t get too excited about the result. It was just a T20 match. It’s a format of the game that gives non-cricket fans a bit of excitement, the purists a bit of a giggle, and great batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting a bit of a rest.
However, the result should boost our confidence ahead of the ODIs, and it keeps Indian morale in the doldrums. Whether it’s done anything for Bopara’s morale remains to be seen.