England slump to another defeat in final warm-up for World Twenty20
England succumbed to a heavy defeat against India
Wednesday 19 March 2014
England will start their World Twenty20 campaign with more questions than answers after another defeat in their final warm-up match against India.
Doubts remain over captain Stuart Broad's participation in Saturday's opener against New Zealand after he played only a peripheral role in the 20-run loss, fielding briefly and sending down two overs before returning to the sidelines.
But there is also uncertainty over the form of several other squad members, not least Broad's fellow seamers and the out-of-sorts opener Alex Hales.
England started the day positively in the field but were cowed by some destructive Indian batting, Virat Kohli (74 not out) and Suresh Raina (54) playing with precision and power as they carried their side to an imposing 178 for four.
Michael Lumb's punchy 36 hinted briefly at a viable chase and although Moeen Ali outscored him by 10, much of the latter's innings was too sedate to worry the Indians.
Jos Buttler softened the margin of defeat with two fours and two sixes but England finished well off the pace at 158 for six.
Broad did not take the field at the start of the India innings, later getting through his brief workout at good pace, and stand-in skipper Eoin Morgan used Moeen, Jade Dernbach, Tim Bresnan and Chris Jordan in the six-over powerplay.
It was a successful period for England, with India stumbling on 39 for three.
Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma looked out of sorts from the off and fell to Dernbach and Bresnan respectively. Yuvraj Singh then added just one before nicking Jordan to Buttler.
But, with their full squad to choose from, India had plenty of batting options and Kohli's fourth-wicket stand with Raina proved decisive.
The pair played a smart hand, taking few obvious risks as they busily accumulated runs in the middle overs and reached 73 by the halfway point.
James Tredwell earned their respect with a tidy four-over spell but they cut loose elsewhere.
Stephen Parry and Bresnan each coughed up 17 runs in an over and Raina hit Ravi Bopara for three fours and a six consecutively before being well caught by Jordan attempting another maximum.
By that point the duo had put on 81 in 8.5 overs and turned the tide of the innings.
The arrival of Mahendra Singh Dhoni (21no) meant no let-up was likely and the India skipper helped an increasingly fluent Kohli put on 58 runs in 31 balls.
England, who had made just 131 for seven against West Indies on Tuesday, knew they needed to do considerably better this time and set about their task earnestly.
Hales stroked his first ball for four and Lumb stepped things up in the fourth over when he found the ropes three times in successive deliveries from Mohammed Shami.
The Nottinghamshire man followed up moments later with a booming six over extra-cover but seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar hit back by taking Hales' middle stump five balls later.
England's brisk scoring was slowed, predictably, by the introduction of spin.
Lumb began confidently with a pair of boundaries off Ravichandran Ashwin, but Raina proved trickier to negotiate as his first two overs cost just four runs.
He also removed the dangerous Lumb, beaten in the air and stumped well down the track by Dhoni.
With Ashwin tightening up as he went on and Raina in a groove, England eked just 20 runs in five overs and at the mid-point of the innings were left needing 116 from 10 overs.
Moeen was struggling to score at pace and had a life on 16 when Varun Aaron grassed a skier.
Morgan had no such luck on the same score, held by Yuvraj when he lofted an Amit Mishra full toss down the ground, and although Moeen finally got past a run-a-ball with some clean strokes it was too little too late.
He finished with 46 in 38 balls, with four fours and a six, but while Buttler's quickfire 30 lit up the closing overs there was insufficient support to take England closer.
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