COLOMBO — India’s spinners rode roughshod over England as they led their team to a comprehensive 90-run victory in their ICC World Twenty20 cricket match at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday.
England, chasing India’s 170 for four, stumbled to 80 all out, their lowest score in T20 internationals, with off-spinner Harbhajan Singh claiming 4-2-12-4 and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla nabbing 4-1-13-2.
England and India had already qualified for the Super Eight stage of the competition, but while England fielded a near full-strength team India opted to rest several of their senior players including batsmen Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar and left-arm quick Zaheer Khan.
Harbhajan and Chawla’s efforts saw England lose their last eight wickets for just 41 runs as they were bowled out in 14,4 overs. England made a poor start to their innings as they slipped to 18 for two with left-arm quick Irfan Pathan (2-17) claiming the wickets of Alex Hales (0) and Luke Wright (6).
The introduction of spin into the attack then rocked England when Harbhajan bowled Eoin Morgan (1) and Chawla castled Jonny Bairstow with a googly before having Craig Kieswetter caught at first slip as England slumped to 51 for five.
Kieswetter had looked to be England’s best chance of pulling off a victory as he slapped his way to 35 off 25 balls but his team were in the midst of a horrendous collapse and Tim Bresnan (1) hoisted a Harbhajan delivery straight to Gautam Gambhir at deep square leg as the heart of England’s batting was ripped out.
Harbhajan then claimed two wickets in an over when he bowled Jos Buttler (11) and had Graeme Swann (0) stumped.
Rohit Sharma had earlier provided India’s innings with some late impetus as he blazed his way to 55 not out off just 33 balls with five fours and a six. Sharma brought up his half-century off 31 deliveries and he pounded a six and a four off the last over of the innings which eventually produced 17 runs off the bowling of paceman Jade Dearnbach.
Virat Kohli and Gambhir set the innings up with a second-wicket partnership which produced 57 runs off 7,5 overs.