Ian Bell’s century helps England pile up a challenging total

Led by Shikhar Dhawan’s sterling century and supported by a purposeful match-deciding performance by Milind Kumar, Delhi XI outgunned England XI to post a six-wicket win and bring cheer to the home camp on a chilly day at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

Thanks to Dhawan, Milind and Rajat Bhatia’s excellent batting, Delhi was home with nine balls to spare.

Ian Bell warmed up on a chilly day with a century that gave early indication of his form ahead of the one-day series. He was guided initially by skipper Alastair Cook before he took over the mantle to dominate the bowling as England compiled 294 for five.

The visiting side was in for a shock as Dhawan produced a knock that was in keeping with his reputation of an exciting stroke-player. He led from the front with a 110 (114b, 14x4, 3x6) that gave Delhi the hope to surprise the opposition.

Milind completed the job in style, his unbeaten 78 (85b, 7x4, 3x6) under floodlights providing a perfect finish to a good contest. Bhatia’s unbeaten 45 (33b, 8x4) was a clinching contribution too.

A 91 in the match against India ‘A’ had shown Bell in good nick and he maintained the tempo on Tuesday. His ten fours and two sixes were shots of conviction and took the sting out of the Delhi attack.

Entertaining stand

The highlight of the England innings was the entertaining partnership between Bell and Eoin Morgan for the fourth wicket. Morgan was a treat to watch as he blasted 52 (4x4, 2x6). The Delhi camp had no clue as Morgan and Bell scored at will, finding the gaps with ease. Craig Kieswetter joined the run-plunder with a 27-ball knock of 41.

A good opening spell from Parvinder Awana was of little help as Bell and Cook played some rousing shots and gained control. Cook replaced Kevin Pietersen and made the most of the occasion. A straight-drive off Ashish Nehra and a cover-driven four off Awana spoke of Cook’s class and the shots were relished by the 1000-odd turn out. But the crowd thinned as the day progressed and a handful only applauded Dhawan’s century.

Though the hard-working Sumit Narwal gave Delhi the breakthrough, he suffered in the latter part of the innings along with Awana. The Delhi attack lacked ideas and England prospered at a rapid pace. The effort, however, failed to prevent Delhi from winning the match in style.

The scores:

England XI: A. Cook b Narwal 44, I. Bell lbw b Sood 108, J. Root c Bisht b Sood 10, S. Patel b Sood 13, E. Morgan c Chand b Anand 52, C. Kieswetter (not out) 41, Chris Woakes (not out) 3; Extras (b-1, lb-6, nb-3, w-13): 23; Total (for five wkts. in 50 overs): 294.

Fall of wickets: 1-70, 2-94, 3-130, 4-243, 5-269.

Delhi bowling: Nehra 9-0-48-0, Awana 8-1-53-0, Narwal 10-0-66-1, Anand 7-0-35-1, Sood 10-0-45-3, Bhatia 6-0-40-0.

Delhi: S. Dhawan lbw b Root 110, U. Chand c Cook b Tredwell 37, J. Anand b Tredwell 4, M. Kumar (not out) 78, V. Rawal b Dernbach 2, R. Bhatia (not out) 45; Extras (lb-10, nb-2, w-7): 19; Total (for four wkts. in 48.3 overs): 295.

Fall of wickets: 1-98, 2-122, 3-188, 4-192.

England XI bowling: Finn 8-0-47-0, Dernbach 9-1-46-1, Woakes 6-0-40-0, Patel 7-0-41-0, Tredwell 9-1-49-2, Meaker 7.3-0-55-0, Root 2-0-7-1.

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