Kohli and Raina Star in India Victory


20 Run Victory Over England

India clinched a 20-run win against England at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur in their second warm-up game before the 2014 ICC World T20. A quick-fire 54 by Suresh Raina and 74* by Virat Kohli helped set up the game in India’s favour. The duo took their team to 178 for four after the England pacers left India floundering on 39 for three. 

Earlier, after being inserted to bat first, the opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan returned to the hut early in the innings. Yuvraj Singh was the next to depart, trying to pull the ball as it took the edge and was caught by the wicketkeeper. 

Raina then joined Kohli in reviving the innings. Both batsmen took the opposition bowlers head on with an 81-run partnership. After scoring 41 in the previous outing, Raina continued his good run as he belted the ball all across the ground during his 31-ball cameo. The Kohli-Raina pair collected singles and twos with the same gusto with which they dismissed the ball to the fence. 

While they looked to accelerate in the second half of the innings, they collected 17 runs off left-arm spinner Stephan Parry in the 13th over. And an over later, Raina cut, drove, swept and pulled off Ravi Bopara to garner 19 runs, before being sent back. A sweep shot that launched the ball beyond the rope brought up his half-century earlier in the over. However, the left-hand batsman pulled the spinner over midwicket, but was caught in the process. 

Raina’s wicket brought India captain MS Dhoni to the crease with about five overs left in the innings. Kohli, who was on 40 when Raina departed, continued with his systematic onslaught. He sent the ball to the boundary through covers to reach his 50. Not only were loose deliveries punished, runs were milked off the good balls as well. The mainstay of the Indian line-up once again shouldered the responsibility of taking the team to a respectable score. With three boundaries in the last over he collected 17 off it. The pair added 58 runs at over 11 runs an over as they batted out the full quota of overs. 

Later, a 43-run opening stand between Alex Hales and Michael Lumb set up the innings for England. After being clobbered early in the innings, Bhuvneshwar Kumar knocked back Hales’ stumps and sent him back in the fifth over. But with England comfortably perched, Dhoni introduced spin in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin and Suresh Raina. In his second over, Raina sent back Lumb, who was cruising along at that point; the opener was stumped for 36. 

Moeen Ali, who had been tied down by the Indian bowlers, was joined in the middle by Eoin Morgan. With the run-rate climbing in the last quarter of the game, the match was hanging in the balance. Amit Mishra was then introduced into the attack, but Varun Aaron dropped Ali off the leg-spinner. In the next over though, Yuvraj Singh took a comfortable catch at the long-on boundary to send back Morgan. Dropped on 16, Ali, who bided his time at the crease, attacked the spinners. He struck Mishra for four behind square-leg and slammed Raina for a four and a six in the next over. Jos Buttler too joined in and hit Ravindra Jadeja over extra cover for six. Ali, who was inching towards his half-century, was sent back four runs short of the mark. A running catch by Ajinkya Rahane ended the partnership for 41. 

With 51 required off 18 balls Bopara came out to bat. Varun Aaron, who was handed the ball the first time in the game, wavered in his line and conceded 13 off his first over. However, Mohammed Shami brought gave India a crucial breakthrough by castling Bopara. A couple of balls later, Buttler sent the ball straight over the bowler’s head for six, but by then it was too late to salvage the game. Jadeja was handed the ball in the last over and he claimed Buttler while conceding only four runs off it to ensure a comfortable win for the Men in Blue.


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