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Raina comes of age, powers India to a thrilling 4-wicket win

Written by: Staff
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Faridabad, Mar 31 (UNI) After yet another top order fiasco, a pugnacious Suresh Raina (81 not out) and a never-say-die Mahendra Singh Dhoni came up with a stupendous display to mar Andrew Flintoff's 100th ODI party and power India to a four-wicket win Against the visitors at the Nahar Singh Stadium here today.

With their second successive win against England, India is now 2-0 up in the seven-match series even though woes continue with their top order.

Chasing a victory target of 227, Team India was in morass at 92 for five but Raina, adjudged Man of the Match later, and Dhoni stitched together a 118-run sixth wicket partnership to script another so-near-yet-so-far story for Flintoff and his men.

Raina, however, was lucky to get a life after an airborne James Anderson caught him off his own bowling but the ball popped out of his hands when he landed with a jerk.

The Uttar Pradesh southpaw came off age today and showed immense maturity. His career best knock of unbeaten 81 came off 88 balls and was peppered with eight fours and a six besides a lot of improvisation and pragmatic batting.

Earlier it was an abject show by the Indian top order. As they began the chase today, Gautam Gambhir (29 off 45 balls, 4x4) started with a flourish and two exquisite drives. The first one off James Anderson through the covers and the ball traversed the same region in the next over from Kabir Ali.

Virender Sehwag (26) was battling a back spasm and a woeful form and seemed wriggling out of it as he drove Anderson for two trademark boundaries through covers and then his attempted pull off Kabir Ali cleared fine leg boundary. But the best of the lot was the backfoot cover drive of Andrew Flintoff that pierced point and gully.

Just when he looked to get in the groove, he tried a sweep shot and the Ian Blackell delivery knocked off his bails. Sehwag's 45-ball 26 included four hits to the fence and India lost first wicket at 61.

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