Bengaluru, Oct. 19: KL Rahul smashed a sizzling half-century to make a strong statement for the second opener’s slot as India notched up a seven-wicket win over England in their first warm-up game of the ICC T20 World Cup in Dubai on Monday.
After England posted a strong total of 188/5, Rahul along with Ishan Kishan put India in control as the Virat Kohli-led side secured a comfortable win.
Boundaries flowed effortlessly from Rahul’s willow as he posted an elegant 24-ball 51 to put India in the driver’s seat. Rahul’s innings was studded with six boundaries and three maximums. Meanwhile, Ishan Kishan, who retired hurt hammered a 46-ball 70 as India chased down the target with six balls to spare.
With the two strong contenders facing off in a warm-up game where result was secondary, Rahul cemented his place as the second opener for the Men in Blue with a solid show in Dubai. The opener made batting look effortless as he hammered Chris Woakes for some smashing sixes and made short work of Mark Wood.
Kishan, another contender for the opener’s slot, took control after Rahul’s departure with a stellar knock. The youngsters innings was studded with three sixes and seven boundaries. Rishabh Pant’s 29 off 14 saw India begin their warm-up for the mega event on a winning note.
While Rahul, Kishan and Pant shone with the willow, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah sounded the warning bells for the bowlers.
In the first innings, after being sent into bat, Jonny Bairstow guided England to a strong total of 188/5. Both openers failed to give England a strong start as Shami (3 for 40) removed Jason Roy (17 off 13) and Jos Buttler (18 off 13) in quick succession.
But despite Shami’s three-wicket haul, Bairstow and Moeen Ali guided England to a challenging total. Bairstow fell just one short of a stellar half-century as Jasprit Bumrah (1/26 in 4 overs) bowled an unplayable yorker to remove Bairstow for 49 off 36.
Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar Kumar struggled as he missed the length time and again to leak 54 runs in his four over spell. Ali, heading into the tournament on the back of a successful IPL winning campaign with CSK, lifted the England score with an unbeaten 43 off 20.
Meanwhile skipper Virat Kohli fell for just 11 off 13, while Suryakumar Yadav looked a little unsettled as he fell for just 8 off 9. On the other hand, Hardik Pandya, who came in to bat with India needing 21 off 15 to win, finished off the game an unbeaten12 off 10 with two boundaries.
Overall, India enjoyed a good outing in their first warm-up game. In their next warm-up tie, India is set to take on Australia on Wednesday (Oct. 20) in an afternoon game at the same venue.