Riding on a cavalier unbeaten 73 off 47 balls from Virat Kohli and an equally entertaining 54 off 31 balls from Suresh Raina, India scored an imposing 178 for four in 20 overs. It was a good enough total for the bowlers to restrict the opposition to 158 for six.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni used seven bowlers in all and Ravichandran Ashwin was again the best bowler in the park as he returned with economical figures of one for 20 from four overs.
Raina also impressed with the ball as he gave away only 23 runs in four overs getting a wicket in the process. Left-handed opener Michael Lumb, a T20 freelancer who has played in IPL and regularly features in Big Bash teams, took advantage of the Powerplay field restrictions as he repeatedly gave charge to Bhuvneshwar Kumar hitting him over the in-field.
He in fact came out lofting him over extra cover for a six. His partner Alex Hales was a bit subdued at the other end and was cleaned up by Bhuvneshwar when he tried a cross-batted heave.
Having scored a quickfire 36 with six fours and a six, Lumb’s luck finally ran out as he tried to give Raina the charge misreading the flight and subsequent turn. Dhoni effected the easiest of stumpings. Eoin Morgan (16) holed out in the deep while trying to clear Ashwin over long on fence.
Moeen was slow to begin with but did play some strokes once he got his eye in. The slog-swept six off Raina was the biggest of the match as it went deep into the mid-wicket stands. His partner Jos Butler was also in a mood to spank the spinners as he lofted Jadeja for a six over long on and then dug out a delivery in the blockhole by the left-arm spinner to the wide of long-on fielder.
The Moeen-Butler duo added 41 runs in only 3.4 overs before the former, trying to clear the fielder at the deep square-leg boundary, was caught by Ajinkya Rahane.
But Butler (30) kept on trying as he lifted Varun Aaron over mid-off and then moved towards off-stump to lift him over the short fine-leg fielder. However, he had too much to do in the end.
25 runs were needed off the last over and it was difficult to get away Ravindra Jadeja (2/23) who got Butler stumped by Dhoni.
Earlier, Kohli played a smashing knock and was ably complemented by Raina as India overcame early jitters to post a commendable total.
The Kohli-Raina duo added 81 runs in 8.5 overs after England left the 2007 champions tottering at 39 for three in the first six overs.
The turnaround happened when Kohli and Raina suddenly took off in the 13th over bowled by left-arm spinner Stephen Parry, and the 15th bowled by medium pacer Ravi Bopara, which yielded 17 and 19 runs, respectively.
India scored as many as 105 runs in the back-10 as Kohli and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (21 no) 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. He hit eight in all.
Put into bat, Rohit Sharma (5) was out mistiming a pull shot as a delivery from Dernbach kept climbing on him and the skier was taken at deep fine leg boundary by Alex Hales.
Shikhar Dhawan (14) bisected the off-side field twice before a powerful but uppish drive was taken by James Tredwell diving to his right in the cover region. Yuvraj Singh (1) had a bad day in office as he got an under-edge trying to pull a back-of-the-length delivery from Chris Jordan to be taken by wicketkeeper Buttler.
In six Powerplay overs, India had lost three wickets for 39 runs when Kohli and Raina joined forces.
Both punished the spinners using their feet to good effect while the seamers were dispatched to the boundary whenever the erred in length. ”
When left-arm spinner Stephen Parry was introduced into the attack, Raina hit him for a six over his favourite mid-wicket region.
He was pretty severe on Ravi Bopara as he raced to fifty with three scoring strokes off the bowler. 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 50 off 29 balls.
The raising of Raina’s 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 knock had six fours and two sixes.
While Raina was in a mood to hammer the bowlers, Kohli played his natural game and hit couple of eye-catching boundaries off left-arm spinner Parry.
On both occasions, he showed copybook footwork as he came to the pitch of the deliveries. The 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.