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Cold warmup but KP remains unworried

Kevin Pietersen may find some comfort suggesting that not many teams take warm-up games seriously. But a little more application could certainly have saved his team from a humiliating 124-run defeat, reports K R Guruprasad.

cricket Updated: Nov 11, 2008 23:30 IST
K R Guruprasad

Kevin Pietersen may find some comfort suggesting that not many teams take warm-up games seriously. But a little more application could certainly have saved his team from a humiliating 124-run defeat against a second-string Mumbai side.

Getting out for 98 with 25 overs left to play is a criminal waste of valuable match practice. Especially, when you have just three days left for a one-day series against India. Chasing 223, England threw away their wickets as MCA XI pacer Kshemal Waingankar ended with five for 37.

The recklessness in English batsmen's approach was such that the MCA XI, made up of club players and Mumbai hopefuls, could have easily bowled them out again in the remaining 25 overs. When the batsmen were not busy edging the ball or padding up to them, they were flaying their bat around or jumping out of their crease.

The day began ominously for Pietersen with Stuart Broad sidelined because of sore knee. That left the captain with limited pace bowling options. However, England bowlers did well to restrict MCA XI to 222. Steve Harmison and spinner Samit Patel picked two wickets each.

But it was Waingankar who made the ball talk. Be it swing or seam, he had it going his way. The 23-year-old had Ian Bell, who made 58 in the first practice game, with a ball that moved away. Bell attempted a cut but edged the ball to the wicket-keeper.

Pietersen too fell to Waingankar. He stepped out to lift the bowler over mid-wicket but the ball nipped in and thudded into his pads. The appeal was upheld. Samit Patel built a mini partnership with Paul Collingwood that lasted only five overs. Collingwood was the first to fall as he stepped out to Rajesh Verma and drove straight to mid on. Patel fell to Waingankar edging to second slip. Centurion in the last match Andrew Flintoff, walked in cheered loudly by a small crowd, but lasted only one over before he edged one behind. England would have faced more embarrassment had it not been for the 34-run partnership between Luke Wright and James Anderson for the last wicket.

Brief Scores: MCA XI 222 for 7 (Marathe 65; Harmison 2/38, S Patel 2/50) beat England XI 98 (Swann 24*, Waingankar 5-37) by 124 runs.