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Millennium Post

Delhi stun England

Delhi skipper Shikhar Dhawan’s sublime 110 and Milind Kumar’s classy half-century (78*) ensured Delhi chase down England’s steep total of 294 at Feroze Shah Kotla on Tuesday. Milind and veteran Rajat Bhatia (45*) notched up a match winning 102-run stand to see Delhi through comfortably in the end. England bowlers couldn’t do much as dew factor and some gritty application made the run chase look flattering in the end. England lost their second successive warm-up match in two days.

Earlier, riding on a fine century from Ian Bell and some useful contributions from Craig Kieswitter, Eoin Morgan and skipper Alistair Cook, England posted a stiff 294 on the board. Bell, who opened the batting along with Cook, looked uncomfortable initially as the ball didn’t come on to the bat.

Parwinder Awana troubled him with a tight line outside off, but he saw through the period by dropping the anchor at his end and letting Cook play aggressively. Cook (44) and Bell added 70 runs for the first wicket before Sumit Narwal castled the former.

Left-arm spinner Varun Sood got Joe Root early as his mistimed was caught by wicketkeeper Punit Bisht. Samit Patel followed suit as Sood got him with a slow ball that kept low but Bell got into the groove soon and kept the scorecard ticking along with Eoin Morgan.

After completing his century, Bell butchered Awana for a straight six into the side screen. He scored 108 off 125 balls, with 10 fours and two sixes. Morgan too found space and milked Ashish Nehra for a straight six and a boundary over mid-wicket. After Morgan’s dismissal, Kieswitter smashed a 27-ball 41 to ensure a competitive total in the end.

Chasing a stiff target, Delhi got off to a flier as Shikhar Dhawan and Unmukt Chand ensured a perfect getaway, unsettling Steven Finn and James Dernabch from the start. Chand hit some glorious cover drives in his knock of 37 as he and skipper Dhawan shared a 98-run stand in 17 overs before James Tredwell got Chand to mistime a lofted drive to Alistair Cook at mid-off.

Dhawan looked ominous from the start, picking the gaps on both sides of the wicket to get boundaries at ease. He welcomed Samit Patel with two sixes. Dhawan’s knock consisted 14 fours and three sixes. A late cut off Woakes and some glorious off-drives were his trademark. Delhi lost its second wicket at 122 when James Tredwell castled Jagrit Anand for four. Milind Kumar provided assistance to Dhawan as the duo put on a 66 runs to keep the asking rate within check. Dhawan was trapped leg before by Joe Root. Vaibhav Rawal too was dismissed soon by Dernbach. At 192/4 in 36.4 overs, the match seemed well poised, but veteran Rajat Bhatia (45*, 8x4) got some much needed boundaries to tilt the match in Delhi’s favour. Milind Kumar continued with his good work, hitting Stuart Meaker for a straight six and letting the pressure get on to England. Milind brought up his fifty and then made the run chase look simple with Bhatia too playing with ease.
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