Nothing tastes sweeter than victory. Ask MS Dhoni. After presiding over several defeats over the past few months, the India skipper finally managed to guide his team to a convincing win at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur on Wednesday. The Men in Blue humbled England by 20 runs in their second and final warm-up tie ahead of their first-round game against Pakistan on Friday.
India rode on splendid knocks from Virat Kohli (74 not out, 48 balls, 8x4) and Suresh Raina 54 (31 balls, 6x4, 2x6) to post a cool 178/4 which England found difficult to chase on the slow and low wicket.
Spinners Ravindra Jadeja (2/23), R Ashwin (1/20) and part-timer Raina (1/23) kept the batsmen on a leash as India gained some much-needed confidence going into the real deal.
Jadeja was clearly the pick of the bowlers, but Raina and R Ashwin deserve credit for dismissing Michael Lumb (36, 25 balls, 6x4, 1x6) and skipper Eoin Morgan (16, 16 balls, 1x4) respectively. Also, both went for less than six an over.
For England, No. 3 batsman Moeen Ali top-scored with 46 (38 balls, 4x4, 1x6) before he holed out to Ajinkya Rahane at deep square-leg.
Earlier India, who were put into bat, had Kohli and Raina to thank. The duo, who joined hands with the scoreboard reading 39/3, smashed 81 runs in 8.5 overs. They took left-arm spinner Stephen Parry and Ravi Bopara to task in the middle overs, collecting 17 and 19 runs, respectively, from two overs. In all, India scored 105 runs in the last 10 overs as Kohli and Dhoni (21 not out, 14 balls, 1x4, 1x6) added 51 runs in only 5.1 overs. The final over, bowled by Tim Bresnan, produced 17 runs with Kohli hitting him for three crisp boundaries.
India's openers had another off day with Rohit Sharma (5) mistiming a pull off Jade Dernbach and Shikhar Dhawan (14) offering a catch to the man at cover. Dhawan bisected the off-side field twice before a powerful drive, hit uppishly, was taken by a diving James Tredwell. Yuvraj Singh (1), too, had a bad day in the office as he got an under-edge trying to pull a back-of-length delivery from Chris Jordan to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
Raina lofted Stuart Broad straight over his head for a boundary having hit Jordan for back-to-back fours. When Parry was introduced into the attack, Raina hit the left-arm spinner for a six over his favourite mid-wicket region. He was pretty severe on Bopara as he raced to his 50 with three boundaries. The first was a slash over point followed by an extra cover drive, while the six was a slog sweep over deep square leg boundary which also brought up his half-century off 29 balls.
The raising off his bat to acknowledge the cheers showed more relief than joy. He hit another four before he was brilliantly caught at the deep mid-wicket boundary off Jordan. His 54 had six fours and two sixes.
While Raina was in a mood to hammer the bowlers, Kohli played his natural game as he hit couple of eye-catching boundaries off Parry. First one was lifted over bowler's head while the second one fired on leg stump was driven inside out through the extra-cover region.
Kohli completed his half-century with his fifth boundary hit over extra cover off Dernbach's bowling. It took him 38 balls to reach the landmark. Dhoni showed that he is in good touch as he slashed Dernbach over deep third-man boundary for a big six.
—With inputs from PTI