By BV Swagath
It seemed that India took out all its frustration of the disastrous Test Series defeat on the English bowling attack in the 4th ODI at Birmingham as the visitors smashed the modest target of 207 in just 30.3 overs! India raced away to a 9-wicket win with as many as 117 balls to spare to inflict England’s worst home defeat in 28 years and in the process seal the 5-match series 3-1.
Ajinkya Rahane after a couple of quiet overs exploded taking on Jimmy Anderson for four boundaries to hit him out of the attack. Shikhar Dhawan followed Rahane’s example by hitting anything that was off target either in line or in length. The English bowlers had no answer and once the pair got their respective fifties, it was going to be severe pounding they received from both the batsmen.
For a little man that he is, Rahane went on to hit the ball out of the ground for 4 sixes while scoring his maiden ODI century in just 96 balls. India just missed out on a 10-wicket win as Rahane drove a full toss from left-arm quick Harry Gunrey into the hands of covers. The Mumbaiker scored a career best of 106 from 100 balls with 10 fours and 4 sixes to get the Man of the Match award.
Shikhar Dhawan played his best knock of the tour with an unbeaten 97 from 81 balls with 11 fours and 4 sixes. Virat Kohli managed to remain unbeaten in the three balls he had faced.
England innings: A superb new ball spell of 8-3-14-2 from Bhuvneshwar Kumar has set up India nicely for a series win in the 4th ODI at Birmingham. England after receiving early setbacks were bowled out for a below par total of 206 in 49.3 overs on a track that is only easing out for batting. But for Moeen Ali’s fabulous 2nd ODI fifty, England would have never got anywhere close to the total of 206.
Bhuvneshwar came up with a big inswinger to castle the stumps of the dangerous Alex Hales in the 5th over. Three balls later, Alastair Cook was brilliantly caught by the diving Suresh Raina at gully as the former played a flashy cut off Kumar. Gary Ballance looked in superb touch until he got caught flicking across the line to Mohammed Shami in the 8th over to leave England at 23 for 3.
England got back on the track thanks to an 80-run stand between Joe Root and Eoin Morgan. The 4th wicket stand was broken by Jadeja when Eoin Morgan glanced him straight to Raina at leg slip in the 29th over after a 58-ball 32. The hosts were back in trouble when the well set Joe Root attempting a reverse sweep off Raina was caught at short thirdman to finish with 44 from 81 balls.
Barring the rapid knock of 67 from 50 balls with 4 fours and 3 sixes from Moeen Ali, the rest of the English batsmen failed to come up with any fightback. Shami was eventually the pick of the bowlers taking 3 for 28 in 7.3 overs to wrap up things which included the key wicket of Jos Buttler. Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar got two wickets each while Ashwin and Raina picked up a wicket each. Raina contributed in the field as well with two sharp catches and a run out.
Toss and Teams: India have opted to bowl first after winning the toss in the 4th ODI at Edgbaston in Birmingham. The visitors who are leading the series 2-0 have made one change with Dhawal Kulkarni making his ODI debut as he comes in for the injured Mohit Sharma.
England, the team under pressure have made as many as three changes with Gary Ballance, Moeen Ali and Harry Gunry replacing the injured Ian Bell, Ben Stokes and James Tredwell respectively.
England: Alastair Cook (C), Alex Hales, Gary Ballance, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler (WK), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Harry Gunrey, James Anderson, Steven Finn
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, AT Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C & WK), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Dhawal Kulkarni