New Delhi: Delhi captain Shikhar Dhawan knocked up a spectacular ton to lead his team to victory over England XI in the final warm-up game for the visitors ahead of the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against India beginning Friday.
Dhawan’s stylish knock of 110 and an unbeaten 103-partnership off 72 balls for the fifth wicket between Milind Kumar (78) and Rajat Bhatia (45) ensured Delhi got past England’s 294/5 in 48.3 overs with six wickets remaining at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Tuesday.
It was a second straight loss for England ahead of the ODI series beginning in Rajkot. They had lost to India A in the first practice match. The loss also meant Ian Bell’s effort of 108 went in vain, just like his knock of 91 at the Palam A Ground here Sunday.
It was a sweet result for Delhi, who failed to make the knock-out stage of Ranji Trophy.
Dhawan and Unmukt Chand began the steep run-chase on a convincing note. They duo faced pacers Steve Finn and Jade Dernbach without much difficulty and went on to add 98 in 17.4 overs.
Chand was the aggressor in the partnership and when he departed Dhawan took over.
The southpaw was a treat to watch with an array of strokes coming from his willow, with the drives on either side of the wicket exuding class. He also used the long handle to good effect and brought his hundred with a six over mid-wicket off spinner James Tredwell. His stylish innings comprised 14 fours and three sixes.
He departed against the run of play, falling leg before wicket to part-timer Joe Root. Delhi at this moment required 107 runs off 93 balls.
However, Milind Kumar and experienced Rajat Bhatia took on the English attack for what turned out to be a match-winning partnership. Kumar, playing only his sixth List A game, made the English attack look pedestrian. He ended up making the highest score of his young career.
Earlier, England put up an impressive show with the bat, smashing 294/5 in 50 overs.
While Bell stole the show, captain Alastair Cook (44), Eoin Morgan (52) and Craig Kieswetter (41) also made significant contributions.
At one stage, it did not look like that England XI will get close to 300 from 130/3 in 28.3 overs. But Bell and Morgan turned the tide by sharing the fourth-wicket partnership of 113 runs off 91 balls. Kieswetter came up with some lusty blows towards the end, hammering Delhi pacer Sumit Narwal for two sixes to finish the innings.
Bell and Cook ensured a solid start for the visitors before Narwal bowled the skipper, making it 70/1 in 15.3 overs. It was a good knock for Cook as he had missed the Palam game due to a cold.
Bell continued from where he left off in Sunday’s tie when he scored 91. He was watchful initially but played all the shots in the book later on. In all, he hit 10 fours and two sixes.
Leggie Varun Sood was the stand-out bowler for the home team, picking up three wickets, including Bell’s.