MS Dhoni did showered a showdown up to the satisfaction of his crowd that gathered at Brabourne Stadium only to watch their favorite captain. It was the last match for the player where he led the team as the skipper against an international team. Dhoni gave a glimpse of the old smasher in him. His masterstrokes were more controlled and imprints his long experience were clearly apparent. He remained unbeaten in the inning, striking 68 off 40 balls. The player hammered 8 fours and 2 sixes in the stretch.
India A was with batsmen like Yuvraj Singh and Shikhar Dhawan headed by Dhoni himself. Even the young player in the team, Ambati Rayadu plundered a century. However, the balling line up was lackadaisical, the weakness augmented by equally pale fielding. This was the reason India A lost to England XIs despite racking up 305 as the target. India had three half centuries and a century in the inning. Dhawan scored 53, Yuvraj had 56, Ambati Rayadu retired after a 100 along with that of Dhoni's. In the next inning, England chased down the score with strong partnership stretches. Sam Billing knocked 93 and opener Jason Roy scored 62. Three other batsmen score 40 plus runs at good strike rates.
In the first stretch of the match, Dhawan and Mandeep Singh struggled to find a good pace in scoring runs. Dhawan's first attack came in the fifth over when he drove the delivery from Adil Rashid to the boundary. In the next over, he tried the same on Willey. Mandeep was removed in 7.3 overs, when he could score only 8 runs off 24 balls. The inning paced up after Rayadu came into the crease. Dhawan and Rayadu delivered a partnership of 111 runs. Both were playing dominantly, striking away the spinners. Dhawan, scoring his fifty and adding some more to it, was dismissed in the 29th over. The score reached 136, when Yuvraj Singh joined in.
Yuvraj gripped the pitch strongly in a short time and began to loft boundaries. He scored 56 off 48 balls partnering with Rayadu. While, Rayadu was playing comfortably knocking boundaries occasionally. There were signs errors in his approach that bowlers could take advantage. He reached 100 in 97 balls hammering 11 fours and two sixes. After his adequate contribution, he retired from the wicket giving the bat to Dhoni after the 40th over. Dhoni had 10 overs to entertain the crowd and he did it professionally. Down the 44th over, he played carefully, only to start his knock with two consecutive boundaries. There were showers of boundaries in the ending overs. In the last over, the captain played with Pandya to bring 23 runs.
England's enterprise on Indian bowlers flipped the match. The chase was strong at the start. It had Billings' strike of 93 off 85 balls and the half century from Roy. In the middle, the inning went wobbly as Indian spinners seemed to control the pitch. England reached 191 for 4 after 30th over, when Jos Butler was removed. In the final stretch, Sam Billings and Liam Dawson partnered for 99 runs, changing the equation. There were three catch drops in the inning, that took a real dig on India. However, even if India lost, fans must have received what they expected, a vigorous unbeaten stretch from their most favorite captain.
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