By Rob Barnett
Virat Kohli’s typically classy 74 not out set up India’s World Twenty20 warm-up victory over England in Mirpur.
Kohli, now the star of India’s batting line-up following the retirement of legends like Sachin Tendulkar, underpinned a recovery from 39 for three that realised a score of 178 for four.
The number three shared stands of 81 with Suresh Raina, who contributed 54, and an unbroken 58 alongside captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Michael Lumb’s 36 saw a strong start to the reply, which Moeen Ali continued with 46. However, England lost momentum in middle overs dominated by India’s spinners and eventually came up 20 runs short despite Jos Buttler’s 30.
Although Stuart Broad’s side go into Saturday’s tournament opener with New Zealand at Chittagong on the back of two straight warm-up defeats, they will have been encouraged by Broad bowling at full pace today.
Broad sat out yesterday’s seven-wicket defeat to West Indies to rest the tendonitis in his right knee, but delivered two overs today apparently without trouble.
Eoin Morgan, leading England as he did yesterday, chose to bowl first in an unofficial Twenty20 international where the whole squad could rotate in the field but just 11 could bat.
Moeen, Jade Dernbach and Tim Bresnan bowled tightly in the early overs, Dernbach rewarded when Rohit Sharma holed out to deep backward square-leg.
James Tredwell’s sharp take to his right at cover gave Bresnan Shikhar Dhawan’s wicket for 14 and Chris Jordan had Yuvraj Singh caught behind from the last ball of the powerplay, leaving India 39 for three.
Raina announced himself with two consecutive leg-side fours off Jordan while Kohli calmly played himself in as Broad sent down his two overs of the innings before leaving the field.
Stephen Parry’s sole set of six cost 17, with Kohli striking the first two balls for four and Raina lifting the fourth for a six to midwicket.
Ravi Bopara, so economical versus West Indies yesterday, then went for 19 but snared Raina in the process. The left-handed batsman consecutively hit four-four-six-four all round the wicket, but immediately pulled to deep midwicket where Jordan came in from the boundary to brilliantly hold on.
Dhoni was soon into his stride en route to 21, upper-cutting Dernbach over the rope, and Kohli cover-drove the same bowler for four to raise his fifty. He then found three boundaries off Bresnan in the last over, which yielded 17.
Lumb continued his fine form from the Caribbean, sending Mohammed Shami for three consecutive fours and lifting Bhuvneshwar Kumar over the cover rope.
Although Bhuvneshwar bowled Alex Hales, who was attempting to cut, for 16 later in the over, Lumb’s twin fours off Ravichandran Ashwin left England with 51 from the powerplay.
Raina having Lumb stumped at the start of the ninth over slowed the scoring and Morgan was then unlucky to hole out to long-on for 16 from an Ashwin full-toss.
Moeen and Buttler injected some impetus with a six each, but the former departed when pulling Ravindra Jadeja to deep square-leg.
Shami soon cleaned up Bopara before Buttler, who had fought bravely, was stumped off Jadeja in the final over.