211019 Rahul Kishan
KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan starred in India's warm-up win over England. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: In-form opener KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan ensured India started their Twenty20 World Cup preparations on a positive note with a convincing seven-wicket victory over England at the ICC Academy grounds in Dubai on Monday.

Chasing a stiff target of 189, Rahul, who showed tremendous consistency in the recently concluded Indian Premier League, extended his impressive run to score 51 off just 24 balls, while Kishan, who ended his slump against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final league encounter, found his bearing again with a timely 70 (retired not out). Despite skipper Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav falling cheaply, Rishibh Pant and Hardik Pandya took the Men in Blue over the line with one over to spare, after scoring 23 runs off the penultimate over.

Earlier Kohli, who had announced that he would be stepping down from the captaincy at the end of the World Cup held in UAE and Oman, decided to chase after winning the toss, saying that the Team India had success in the past while chasing and wanted to create the same energy in the practice game.

The England openers Jason Roy and Jos Buttler got off to a perfect start but could not sustain the momentum with Mohammad Shami ending their stay. Even Dawid Malan failed to capitalise on the start. But the trio of Jonny Bairstow (49), Liam Livingstone (30) and Moeen Ali, who has had an impressive outing with the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League, continued from where he left off to score a quickfire unbeaten 43 off 20 balls.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami, despite claiming three wickets, and Rahul Chahar were very expensive and England scored 111 runs in 10.4 overs. Ravichandran Ashwin, who has returned to the Twenty20 side after a four-year break, turned an economic spell, keeping the runs in check, while Jasprit Bumrah also found his rhythm to keep the batsmen quite.

After the toss, speaking to Star Sports, Kohli said that he would bat at No 3 spot and open with Rohit Sharma and Rahul. “Things were different before IPL, now it’s difficult to look beyond KL Rahul. He’s been solid upfront. I will be batting at 3. That’s the only thing I can say for now.”

The only worry for England is the injury to Livingstone, who injured his little finger while attempting to catch Kishan.

In the other warm-up matches, Australia defeated New Zealand while South Africa eased past Afghanistan. David Warner’s form could be a concern for Australia as the left-handed opener again fell for a duck.