James Taylor scored a match-defining 82 to take England over the line © Getty Images
James Taylor scored a match-defining 82 to take England over the line © Getty Images

India lost a virtual semi-final against England by three wickets in the sixth One-Day International (ODI) at Perth and have as a result crashed out of the tri-series. India started the match well, but could not capitalise on the solid foundation laid by their openers. Pramod Ananth lists the highlights of the match.

Openers get India off to a good start– India finally got off to a good start, courtesy excellent batting by Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane. The duo weathered the storm initially on a pitch conducive to fast bowling and looked set to get a big score. Unfortunately for India, the partnership came to a premature end at 83, when Dhawan fell for 38. Rahane, however went on to make 73. These are positive signs for India, leading into the ICC World Cup 2015.

Middle-order failure– It’s generally the middle-order that saves India after the failure of the openers, but their roles had mysteriously switched at Perth. After the openers got India off to a bright start, the middle-order failed to capitalise and thus India could not get a big score, which would have put England under pressure. Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni fell cheaply and thus the innings fizzled out.

Moeen Ali’s crucial wickets– Moeen was out to torment the Indian batsmen yet again as he picked up vital wickets of Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina in quick succession. India were well placed at 103 for one before Moeen, first got the wicket of Kohli and soon followed it up with the wicket of Raina. Moeen was the most economical bowler and finished with figures of two for 35 in his 10 overs.

Mohit Sharma-Mohammed Shami partnership–  Mohit and Shami put together a breezy 35-run stand off just 23 deliveries for the 10th wicket that helped India touch 200. At one stage, it looked impossible but Shami (25) ensured that his three fours and a huge six got India to 200. Mohit on the other hand remained unbeaten on seven.

Steven Finn impresses again– After getting a fifer in the earlier match against India, Finn was once again in the thick of things. Rahane was one of his three scalps, which could be termed game changing as he looked set to get a big score.

England get off to a poor start– England got off to the worst possible start and found themselves in deep trouble at 66 for five. In pursuit of 200, it seemed like England had gotten a touch complacent and lost wickets in the process. They were however saved an embarrassing defeat, courtesy a 100-plus stand between Jos Buttler and James Taylor for the seventh wicket.

Stuart Binny’s impressive show with the ball– Skipper Ms Dhoni persisted with Binny to open the bowling. Binny picked up three important wickets that put India in the driving seat. He got back-to-back wickets of Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara to send panic waves through the England camp. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to win India the match.

James Taylor- Jos Buttler’s match-winning partnership–  England were struggling at 66 for five after 20 overs and they were saved thanks to a 125-run partnership between Taylor and wicket-keeper Buttler. Taylor came in when Ian Bell fell early on and Buttler arrived after the dismissal of Ravi Bopara, at equally testing times for England. The duo managed to survive and also build an excellent partnership that eventually saw England home. Taylor looked set to get his maiden ton but he was unfortunately dismissed for 82 and Buttler paced his innings extremely well before he was dismissed for 67.

India miss run-out chance– India would rue the chance of not removing Buttler early on when he hadn’t even got his eye in. Rahane took aim but missed the wicket narrowly and Buttler would have been well short of his ground. Buttler went on to make a crucial half-century, which turned the match in England’s favour.

England qualify for tri-series final– England finished the job end at the end of the day and managed to qualify for the final of the tri-series and will face Australia at Perth on February 1. England had lost both their previous matches to Australia and will hope turn it around in the final.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)