The ICC T20 World Cup is officially underway and one of the marquee clashes was India taking on England. The match was a warm-up game at the ICCA Dubai on Monday October 13 which India won by six wickets.
Buoyed by Jonny Bairstow's 49 and a late 20-ball-43* assault by Moeen Ali, England set India a competitive 189 to chase.
In reply, India started off strong with KL Rahul's sublime 24-ball-51. It was a forgettable outing for Virat Kohli as he was dismissed for 11, but Ishan Kishan continued his carnage with a 46-ball-70 before retiring.
Rishabh Pant (29*) and Hardik Pandya (12*) saw the team home as Chris Jordan's penultimate over yielded 19 runs. India finally reached the target with six balls to spare.
Here are some of the things we learned from India's first T20 World Cup warm-up scrimmage:
#1. KL Rahul gets off to a brilliant T20 World Cup start
The debate ahead of the warm-up game raged on, on who would be India's opener alongside Rohit Sharma in the T20 World Cup. It was officially put to rest by skipper Virat Kohli, who said KL Rahul was their first-choice to walk out with Sharma.
Rahul celebrated with an elegant 24-ball-51 studded with six fours and three sixes to get India off to a breezy start in their competitive chase. Only time will tell if he can continue in the same vein. This will be vital when India take on Australia in their second warm-up match on Wednesday followed by their edition opener against Pakistan.
#2. India's bowlers had a bit of an aberration
Despite throwing the kitchen sink at Moeen Ali, India's bowling attack was taken to the cleaners. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0/54), Mohammed Shami (3/40), Rahul Chahar (1/43) and Ravindra Jadeja (0/42) were carted all over the park.
It is too premature to press the panic button considering it has been just one warm-up game of the T20 World Cup. But one would expect the bowlers to dish out a better performance in subsequent games.
#3 Ravichandran Ashwin makes a decent comeback
Ravichandran Ashwin last played a T20I in 2017 against the West Indies. He went wicketless in his four overs, giving away 39 runs.
But all of his experience came to the fore in the T20 World Cup warm-up against England as he bowled his quota for just 23 runs.
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There were no wickets to show, but his miserly spell meant India's veteran spinner would be one of the spinners cementing his slot in the playing XI.