India underline T20 World Cup favourites tag with warm-up win over England

IN A meeting between the two most strongly fancied sides to win the T20 World Cup, India, the bookmakers’ slight favourites, beat England by seven wickets in a floodlit warm-up game in Dubai.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 8:36 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 1:49 pm
Good knock: England's Jonny Bairstow on his way to 49 against India. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Ishan Kishan, the man with arguably the greatest sounding name in world cricket, smashed a splendid half-century as India overhauled England’s 188-5 with six balls left.

The 23-year-old left-hander scored 70 from 46 balls with seven fours and three sixes before retiring in the 16th over to give someone else a go.

Kishan played beautifully and shared in an opening stand of 82 in 8.2 overs with KL Rahul to set up the chase, Rahul striking 51 from 24 balls, although Kishan was dropped three times - lastly and most significantly by Liam Livingstone, who injured his left little finger in the process of spilling a routine opportunity at deep mid-wicket off Chris Jordan. England plan to assess Livingstone’s condition today once the swelling has subsided.

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On the move: Yorkshire pair Jonny Bairstow, right, and Dawid Malan run between the wickets for England. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

It was Kishan’s final scoring shot after he had been missed on seven by Chris Woakes diving forward at mid-on off David Willey, and, most egregiously of all, by Jos Buttler, who captained in the absence of Eoin Morgan, the wicketkeeper shelling him down the leg-side on 67 off Woakes.

But it barely detracted from Kishan’s display, which included two sixes off the Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid - one launched over deep mid-wicket and the other over long-off - and a thumping pulled maximum off pace man Mark Wood.

With Rishabh Pant supplying an unbeaten 29 from 14 deliveries with three sixes of his own, India made a difficult target look not dissimilar to a stroll in the park, justifying the high expectations resting on their shoulders.

Willey and Livingstone were the only bowlers to emerge with credit, with Moeen Ali, Jordan, Rashid and Woakes coming in for particularly heavy punishment, all of them conceding more than 10 runs an over, with Jordan particularly profligate at the death as he served up no-balls to go with boundaries.

Earlier, Jonny Bairstow (49 from 36 balls with four fours and a six) and Moeen (43 not out from 20 balls with four fours and two sixes) led the way with the bat as England put up a good-looking score after losing the toss.

Livingstone chipped in with 30 from 20 balls with four fours and a six - accelerating well after managing only one run from his first five deliveries, and 14 from his first 12, with Mohammed Shami the most successful bowler with 3-40.

But England’s was not a display that will strike fear into their rivals ahead of their final warm-up against New Zealand tomorrow in Abu Dhabi.

England then start their tournament proper against the West Indies in Dubai on Saturday, seeking to add the T20 world title to the 50-over accolade they garnered two years ago.