sport

Morgan delighted with super six

Eoin Morgan was delighted after producing the perfect shot in the nick of time as England finished 2012 on an exhilarating high on Saturday.

England's stand-in Twenty20 captain cannot remember ever previously hitting the last ball of a match for six to win.

But that is what he did under the Wankhede Stadium lights, to settle a thrilling outcome in the most emphatic style after England had needed two to tie and three to win with only Ashok Dinda's final delivery left.

The tourists can therefore add a 1-1 draw after two matches, in their last action of 2012, to England's famous first Test series victory in India for almost 28 years.

For Morgan personally, there was great satisfaction at leading from the front - as did Alastair Cook so memorably in the 2-1 Test success - with an unbeaten 49 from only 26 balls as England achieved the highest run chase in their Twenty20 history.

It seemed they had given themselves plenty to do, when India piled up 177 for eight. But openers Michael Lumb (50) and Alex Hales and then Morgan and Jos Buttler, in an unbroken stand of 32 from just 13 balls, overcame the odds for a six-wicket win.

The captain completed the task by striking Dinda straight back over his head almost into the media box.

Asked whether he can recall pulling off a better shot under pressure, he said: "I don't think so. It's certainly up there.

"There was one against Pakistan a couple of years ago that sailed into the stands as well.

"But the last ball of the game, and an atmosphere like that, I don't think so."

Limited-overs expert Morgan has been at the centre of many successful run chases, for club and country, but does not think he has ever hit the last ball for six when he had to.

"Off the top of my head, this is the first time - and what a time, a full house at the Wankhede.

"The last three or four overs, we just kept saying 'we're one big over away'.

"They bowled quite well, and the ball stuck in the wicket a wee bit. But we always backed ourselves to clear the ropes.

"Jos came in and played a fantastic supporting role, just kept bouncing the ball off the sightscreen - which does help confidence, to 'take it deep'.

"When you get to that point, the bowlers are under as much pressure - if not more.

"All the fatigue training that we've done is for that sort of stuff. We do test ourselves, and it's great to get the results and get over the line."

Morgan kept his cool even after Dinda pulled out in his delivery stride at his first attempt to bowl the final ball.

It might have been a controversial moment, without the six which followed, but the Irishman said: "It didn't really bother me.

"I couldn't blame the tactics, to disrupt the rhythm of the batters. But it does the same thing to a bowler, because he only asks himself more questions.

"Jos and I just kept saying 'keep things as simple as we can' - and it paid off."

Morgan's opposite number Mahendra Singh Dhoni was partially responsible for setting such a tough target, with 38 runs off only 18 balls from number seven.

He could be forgiven for thinking too, before Morgan's last clinical strike, that he and Yuvraj Singh (three for 17) had perhaps done enough. But Dhoni said: "In cricket, you don't expect - because when you expect, you get disappointment.

"You have to accept it was a good shot. The bowler failed to execute what he wanted to bowl, and Eoin Morgan batted really well."

For the winning captain, the reward was elation - albeit in a match of relatively little significance, tagged on as it was as the end of the Test series.

Morgan took charge, in Stuart Broad's injury-enforced absence, of an especially inexperienced squad - and believes he has seen very encouraging signs for England's limited-overs future.

"I'm pretty impressed with how the guys held their own," he said.

"It's disappointing not to have won the series - expectations are quite high with English cricket, which shows where we are at - but to get a draw is a good achievement.

"It is hugely satisfying, especially after the disappointment of losing the other day.

"This is something else, a great feeling."