England vs India 4th ODI: Rahane and Dhawan crush England to give India unassailable lead

Rahane celebrates after bringing up his maiden ODI century

Rahane celebrates after bringing up his maiden ODI century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

India opener Ajinkya Rahane scored his maiden ODI century and his partner, Shikhar Dhawan, smashed an unbeaten 97 to lead the national team to a convincing nine-wicket win over England in the fourth ODI in Birmingham.

However, England all-rounder Moeen Ali deserves some credit as he made a valiant 67.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni would have been delighted with his decision to bowl first as England opener Alex Hales, captain Alastair Cook and batsman Gary Ballance were dismissed in quick succession to leave the hosts reeling at 23/3.

However, despite losing three early wickets, which came courtesy of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, England managed to get their innings back on track thanks to an 80-run partnership between Eoin Morgan and Joe Root.

The partnership was ended when Morgan was caught by Suresh Raina at leg gully off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja for 32.

Root went on to score 44 runs before he was caught by debutant Dhawal Kulkarni at short third man off the bowling of Raina.

Even though England lost Morgan and Root in a short space of time, Ali and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler made up for it with a 50-run partnership before Buttler was given out lbw off the bowling of Shami for 11.

However, Buttler should not have been given out since replays showed that the ball was going over the stumps.

Like many of the other players, Chris Woakes failed to have much of an impact as he was run out by Raina for 10 runs.

Following Woakes’ dismissal, Ali shifted gears and accelerated past his half-century. But, he couldn’t reach the triple figure mark as he was clean bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin for 67, which came off 50 balls and included four boundaries and three sixes.

Ali kept India at bay for a while with his gutsy 67

Ali kept India at bay for a while with his gutsy 67

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

After Ali made his way back to the pavilion, Finn and Gurney was rapidly dismissed, and England ended up being bowled out for 206.

Shami was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Kumar and Jadeja snapped up two wickets apiece and Raina and Ashwin chipped in with one wicket each.

Chasing 207 to win, Rahane and Dhawan almost won the game single-handedly for India as they amassed a magnificent 183-run partnership, during which Rahane brought up his maiden ODI century and Dhawan his half-century.

India’s hopes of beating England by 10 wickets was dashed when Rahane ended up spooning a simple catch to Cook in the covers off the bowling of Harry Gurney.

Rahane’s career-best knock of 106 came off 100 balls and included 10 boundaries and four sixes.

To ensure that England did not bog his side down with a couple of tight overs, Dhawan went berserk after Rahane’s dismissal and only needed another 11 deliveries to score the 23 runs required to win. In fact, he finished the game in style as he launched a massive six over the long-on boundary to give India an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Dhawan ended up making an unbeaten 97, which came off 81 balls and included 11 boundaries and four sixes.

Dhawan hammered 11 boundaries and four sixes during his unbeaten innings of 97

Dhawan hammered 11 boundaries and four sixes during his unbeaten innings of 97

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Gurney was the only England bowler to take a wicket.

Cook was frustrated to have lost yet another match, and said: “A very tough day. The sport turns so quickly. It is frustrating not to play to your potential. We were going to bat first anyway. India certainly batted better, fielded better, and bowled better. It is always tough to lose three games in a row and in the manner that we lost. There is a World Cup a few months away and you have to show you are hungry.

“We just need to look at ourselves and improve. There is potential but we need to improve. Moeen batted very well. He was the only guy to have a good day today. We are pretty clear on the personnel we need, but if people do not sore runs, or take wickets…They certainly have the potential…They need to turn up.”

Dhoni was pleased to have wrapped up the series, and said: “Considering the first game, our performance only got better. There is a tendency to lax after winning, but we only got better and today was a perfect game. The seamers bowled in the right areas and it was crucial because I thought it wouldn’t turn much. The fast bowlers set it up because they took wickets and when the spinners came, the batting was under pressure.

“The openers, if they can face 10 to 12 overs, it gives us a platform. It was good to see Dhawan back in form. Rahane was always someone who was third in line for the opening slot and he has made the most out of it. He is a good timer which makes it slightly easy for him. It’s a spot that suits him. Rohit is a very talented guy and we are not making any decisions (on opening) as yet. I feel a lot of credit goes to the seniors I played under and the youngsters [as well].”

Rahane was named Man of the Match, and said: “It feels really great when you get a 100 and the team wins. Credit goes to the bowlers as well for setting up the match. I was batting well after the first few games and I was focussing to stay there. Really happy for Dhawan, the way he batted was special. We just wanted to enjoy the game. It’s a great challenge to open, you have to prepare your mind.”

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