Fireworks sparkle as India beat England

On a night of high excitement and fireworks both on and off the field, India beat England by 18 runs in their Twenty20 World Championship Super Eight match at Kingsmead, Durban, on Wednesday evening.

Helped by a dazzling innings from Yuvraj Singh, India, who won the toss, made 218 for four in their 20 overs.

Chasing the daunting total of 219 for victory, England finished their 20 overs on 200 for six. Their loss means they are now out of the tournament, but if India beat South Africa on Thursday, they will be level with South Africa and New Zealand, and the semifinalists will be decided on superior run rate.

Singh became the first person to hit six sixes off one over in international Twenty20 cricket, and also scored the fastest 50—his half-century taking just 12 balls. He and his captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 61 off just 19 balls, with Singh Dhoni contributing just 10 runs.

Only three other people have managed six sixes in an over—Sir Garfield Sobers against Glamorgan in a county match, Ravi Shastri of India in a first-class match in Mumbai and South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs, who achieved the feat in a match against The Netherlands during the World Cup in the Caribbean earlier this year.

The crowd became increasingly excited as Singh smashed six after six, and each time he hit one, fireworks lit up the sky.
The first went over cow corner, the second to backward square leg, the third over extra cover, the fourth over backward point, the fifth over midwicket and the sixth over wide mid-on.

Broad, whose figures had been a respectable 24 for nought off three overs, suddenly found himself with figures of 60 for nought off four. Singh was finally bowled by Andrew Flintoff off the last ball of the innings for 58 off 16 balls, including three fours and seven sixes.

Earlier, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag put on 136 for the first wicket before Sehwag was bowled by Chris Tremlett for 68. Gambhir went a short while later, when he was caught by Broad off Darren Maddy for 58.

England made a spirited attempt to knock off the runs. Darren Maddy and Vikram Solanki put on 53 for the first wicket before Maddy was caught by Gautam Gambhir off Irfan Pathan for 29. Pathan claimed the second wicket to fall, that of Solanki, who was caught by Rohit Sharma for 43.

Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood made 40 for the third wicket, but once Pietersen was out, beautifully caught and bowled by Harbhajan Singh for 39, victory became increasingly unlikely.

Collingwood made 28 before he was bowled by RP Singh and Owais Shah put on 21 before he was caught by Joginder Sharma off RP Singh.

With one over left, England needed 36 runs to win, and the crowd held its breath in anticipation of another volley of sixes. But when the first ball went for a single, the crowd—which generally was solidly behind India—went into raptures.—Sapa

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