Rahul, Kishan's quick fifties help India chase comfortably, Livingstone shine for England
India 192 for 3 (Kishan 70, Rahul 51, Pant 29*) beat England 188 for 5 (Bairstow 49, Moeen 43*, Livingstone 30, Shami 3/40) by seven wickets
Post the conclusion of IPL, in a short turn-around time, the ICC T20 World Cup has quickly taken centrestage. As the group stage matches continue over the week, in the background, the pre-selected top 8 nations are playing warm-up games to help them gear up for the all-important tournament. India played their first warm-up match against England and looked to gain momentum and energy within the group and adapt to each of their different roles in the national side, as mentioned by their Captain Virat Kohli during the toss. Although the team also looked to gain clarity on the playing combinations by bowling Ravichandran Ashwin and Rahul Chahar as their two spin options and Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the third pacer along with the usual selection of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
England get off to quick start
England being asked to bat first showed their strength of quick fearless hitting, getting off to a good start despite the fall of wickets. Their top three batters in Jason Roy, stand-in skipper Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan got starts with 17, 18 and 18 respectively. Rahul Chahar, the leg-spinner, picked into the setup on the back of good performances in IPL seemed tricky to face getting the wicket of Malan. However, he was found to be vulnerable later on due to inexperience and went for 17 off his last over easing off the pressure for the England bats. Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone seemed to bat in fine rhythm striking well through the middle overs and running exceptionally well between the wickets.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar goes for above 50 in his 4 overs
Bhuvneshwar Kumar had an off day going for 54 from his 4 overs with 21 coming off the last over of the game. It is a cause of concern since he was one of the best death over bowlers in India's setup. Moeen Ali was the standout batter for England with 43 runs off 20 balls, continuing his good form from the IPL and Bairstow made a key contribution of 49 runs to finish the England innings at 188. Mohammed Shami took three wickets while Bumrah bowled an almost unplayable yorker to get the wicket of Bairstow.
Rahul, Ishan light up the night sky with intrepid hitting
KL Rahul and Ishaan Kishan opened the innings, at first steadily, hitting 15 runs off the first 3 overs, but soon changed gears, playing expansive shots all over the ground.
What seemed like effortless form, KL hit 51 runs off 24 balls to get the team the perfect start before getting out to a back of a length delivery played on the up, post his half-century. Kishan, on the other hand, continued the aggressive brand of cricket from the other end while Virat rotated strike. Expressing himself on the field, the youngster managed to make 70 off 46 before retiring out.
Virat Kohli was unable to score well in this game with just a meagre 11 off 13. He has stated that he will continue to play his role at number 3 which seems like the ideal fit as piercing the gaps in the field and running hard between wickets and works well as a middle-over gameplan in the 20-over format. Rishabh Pant, along with Hardik Pandya, closed the game comfortably with an over to spare. It was a dominant performance against what can be argued to be the favourite team going into the ICC T20 World Cup 2021. India will play their next warm-up game against Australia on October 20.
The ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021/2 begins on 23rd Oct with India playing their first game against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday, 24th.