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There were three more nailbiters played in 2011.
Third thriller in eight days as England wins, Chennai 2011
England’s luck changed as they defeated South Africa after a tie against India eight days ago and a narrow loss to Ireland four days ago.
England started disastrously, losing skipper Andrew Strauss for a duck, Kevin Pietersen for two and Ian Bell for five. All three were victims of pace bowler Robin Peterson and England was 3-15. The scoreboard showed a quirky item: Pietersen c. Kallis b. Peterson 2.
Jonathan Trott (52) and man of the match Ravi Bopara (60) added 99 for the fourth wicket but England was all out for 171 in 45.4 overs. Peterson 3-22 and leg-break googly bowler Imran Tahir 4-38 were the chief destroyers.
South Africa’s chase for 172 appeared easy when they were 3-124, only 48 runs needed with seven wickets in hand but their ‘World Cup choke syndrome’ haunted them again and they lost by six runs.
Stuart Broad had marvellous figures of 6.4-0-15-4 but it was his fast ball partner Jimmy Anderson who started the collapse by bowling South Africa’s star batsman AB de Villiers, shaving the off-stump so gently that at first only wicketkeeper Matthew Prior noticed the bail displacement of the bail.
This was followed by three quick wickets as Graeme Swann’s accuracy dried up the run flow. Broad claimed the last two wickets and England won by six runs with 14 balls remaining.
Home crowd celebrate until 2am after Bangladesh’s finest hour at Chittagong, 2011
England missed their star batsman Kevin Pietersen, who flew home for a hernia operation, and accurate fast bowler Stuart Broad had a side strain.
Jonathan Trott scored 67 and added 109 for the fourth wicket with Eoin Morgan (63). But the steady Bangladesh attack restricted England to 225 in 49.4 overs.
Bangladesh started well, being 3-155. Opener Imrul Kayes (60) and skipper Shakib Al Hasan (32) added 82 for the fourth wicket. But once Kayes was run out, Bangladesh lost 5-14 runs and became 8-169, Ajmal Shahzad taking 3-43 and Graeme Swann 2-42 and needed 57 runs for a shock win.
Not to be perturbed, No. 7 batsman Mohammad Mahmudullah and No. 10 bat Shafiul Islam took Bangladesh to a two-wicket victory with an over to spare. It was their first win against England.
England had her revenge this Saturday when they defeated Bangladesh at Cardiff by 106 runs despite Shakib Al Hasan’s run-a-ball 121.
Imrul Kayes was cheered lustily when presented the man of the match award in 2011. The home crowd was ecstatic and celebrated the win until 2am.
India lose to South Africa despite Tendulkar’s masterly century, Nagpur 2011
This was a roller-coaster encounter featuring aggressive batting, accurate bowling and acrobatic fielding. India started well. Virender Sehwag (73 off 66 balls) and Sachin Tendulkar (111 off 101 balls) added 142 runs for the first wicket. Then Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir (69) were associated in another century stand and India was floating at 1-267.
It was Tendulkar’s sixth World Cup century and 99th in all internationals, but his dismissal started a collapse and India lost their last nine wickets for a paltry 29 runs to be all out for 296 in 48.4 overs. Fast bowler Dale Steyn broke the Indian bubble by capturing 5-50, combining speed and reverse swing to perfection.
South Africa’s start was not as spectacular as India’s but their middle-order batsmen did not cave in as India’s did. Hashim Amla, Jaques Kallis and AB de Villiers scored 50s and South Africa chased the winning target. In the final over South Africa needed 13 to win.
Indian skipper MS Dhoni gave the last over to medium pacer Ashish Nehra instead of off spinner Harbhajan Singh, who had taken 3-53. Tail-ender Robin Peterson hit a four and a six and South Africa won by three wickets with two balls remaining.
For derailing India – a fast-moving ‘train’ – Steyn was adjudged of the match.
Tomorrow will be featured the final episode of this series, climaxing with the World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand in 2015 with the hosts in the final.