WATCH : Bhajji seals it with dashing six ensure Indian Champions begin in style against England

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Batting first, the England Champions faced early setbacks as they lost their skipper, Kevin Pietersen, for a slow 4 runs, leaving the team struggling at 22/1 after six overs.

Ian Bell then took the initiative to break the shackles with a few boundaries, even as Phil Mustard, who scored a 24-ball 13, fell at the other end. Bell was joined by the hard-hitting Samit Patel, and the pair added a quick 73 runs for the third wicket.

Once Samit departed after an explosive 25 off 31 balls, Owais Shah escalated the pace with a rapid 23 off just 9 balls, pushing the team’s total to 165/4.

In response, the India Champions started strongly, with Robin Uthappa and Naman Ojha racing to 54 runs in the powerplay. Ojha’s departure shortly after ended their 62-run partnership, but Uthappa kept the scoreboard moving alongside Suresh Raina.

Uthappa reached a 31-ball half-century but was dismissed soon after, leaving India well-placed at 90/2 after 11 overs. Trouble began when Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh were dismissed within three deliveries, bringing two new batters to the crease.

Despite this setback, Irfan Pathan’s quickfire 22 off 15 balls and Gurkeerat Singh Mann’s 33 off 17 balls kept victory within reach. However, a mini-collapse left India needing six runs off seven deliveries with only three wickets in hand. It was then that Harbhajan Singh confidently stepped out and smashed Ravi Bopara over his head for a stunning six to seal the triumph.

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