The Telegraph
Thursday , March 20 , 2014
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Virat and Suresh were brilliant: Captain Dhoni
India gain confidence with victory in 2nd warm-up tie

Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina (above) scored 74 and 54, respectively, as India beat England by 20 runs in their second warm-up match, in Mirpur, on Wednesday

Calcutta: Almost everything went right for India in their World T20 warm-up match against England, in Mirpur, on Wednesday. Two of their key batsmen got runs, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni looked fit as he smashed a four and a six in his 14-ball 21 not out and the bowlers had a decent outing as well.

But the most significant achievement of the day for India, perhaps, was the fact that they won the match by 20 runs. They have mostly been losing in the last few months. They had even lost the first practice game, against Sri Lanka, by five runs.

The win, therefore, will definitely be a boost for Dhoni’s team as they prepare to meet arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening match of the main round, on Friday.

Replying to India’s 178 for four, England were restricted to 158 for six in the stipulated 20 overs.

Dhoni heaped praise on Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina for their batting, but the openers’ failure, once again, will keep him worried.

Kohli’s 48-ball 74 not out showed that irrespective of the format, he remains India’s best bet in batting at the moment. Raina, who hit 54 off 31 balls, seems to be a rejuvenated and charged-up batsman after his ouster from the ODI team. But openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan failed to click, scoring just 5 and 14 respectively.

Captain Dhoni used seven bowlers, but Ravichandran Ashwin was once again the brightest one on the field. Ashwin, who bowled well against Sri Lanka as well, returned figures of 4-0-20-1. Ravindra Jadeja, too, was impressive, taking two wickets for 23 runs.

Raina had a good day with the ball as well as he gave away just 23 runs from his four overs and picked up the important wicket of Michael Lumb (36).

Moeen Ali was the top scorer for England, scoring 46 from 38 balls. England, who had lost to West Indies on Tuesday, thus lost both their practice matches in the lead-up to the tournament proper.

The following are excerpts

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: It was a good game for us. We expected a bit more dew but there was none today. We wanted our bowlers to have a bit of practice with the wet ball… Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

We batted really well today. We lost a few wickets at the start but Virat and Suresh took charge. The need of the hour was to forge a partnership and they did put a stand of 81 runs. They were brilliant today.

We know the conditions well here. It is just a matter of applying ourselves and playing according to the situation. We are a team who is known to finish their job. And hopefully, we can carry our reputation in this tournament also.

This will be more or less the batting line-up we will be going in with. But then, it depends on the situation of the game. If the openers get us off to a good start, you may see a few changes. The bowling line-up will depend on the kind of wicket on which we are playing. If the spinners can bowl the 19th and 20th over, that would be good for us. We are still not sure if we will play three or two spinners.

This is not a format for the part-timers to be experimenting.

Eoin Morgan: We had a good outing today… It was a good practice game. However, the result was disappointing. But I’m happy with the overall performance.

Our death bowling was good today. The guys have improved. Hopefully, as the tournament progresses, they will get better. Also, I felt we were a bit unlucky today. The bowlers bowled some good yorkers at the death but the Indian batsmen survived those deliveries and really played well.