Harbhajan Singh's four-wicket haul and Rohit Sharma's quickfire half-century helped India thrash England by 90 runs in their ICC World Twenty20 Group A match at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday.
Chasing 171 to win, England stumbled to 80 all out, their lowest score in T20 internationals, with offspinner Harbhajan claiming 4 for 12 and legspinner Piyush Chawla nabbing 2 for 13. Irfan Pathan rocked England early on, getting rid of the in-form Luke Wright and Alex Hales to provide India the upperhand.
The introduction of spin 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 5. Next to go was Tim Bresnan (1) who perished by hoisting 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.
Earlier, Rohit was the pick of the Indian batsmen as he remained unbeaten on 55 off just 33 balls, which included a six and five hits to the fence. The right-hander stitched two useful partnerships of 47 and 38 with skipper MS Dhoni (9) and Gambhir for the fourth and third wickets respectively.
Virat Kohli and Gambhir set the innings up with a second-wicket partnership which produced 57 runs off 7.5 overs. Kohli looked in particularly good nick with some of his driving being rather pleasing. But the elegant right-hander departed for 40 off 32 balls when he lifted a delivery off offspinner Swann to the deep midwicket fielder.
Gambhir was relatively sedate as he scored 45 off 38 deliveries before he departed in the 16th over when he edged a delivery from seamer Steven Finn to Kieswetter. Dhoni (9) was the last man out, thanks to a wonderful catch at long on after Buttler grabbed the ball but flicked it back infield as he went over the boundary rope with Hales on hand to complete the catch.
England and India had already qualified for the Super Eights of the competition, but England fielded a near full-strength team and India opted to rest several of their senior players including batsmen Virender Sehwag and R Ashwin and left-arm quick Zaheer Khan.