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India keep winning run going, edge Kent by 5 runs

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India, after registering a 6 wicket win over Sussex at Hove yesterday, continued their winning streak with a slender 5 run victory over Kent at Canterbury in their second limited overs tour game which was reduced to 20 overs a side due to incessant rain. Asked to bat first, India put up a challenging 164/6 on the board. Virat Kohli was once again the top scorer with a brilliant 78 while Rohit Sharma (30) and R Ashwin also played vital knocks. Joe Denly led the Kent reply with a stroke filled century off 67 balls but it wasn't enough for the home side as they finished up at 159/5.

Earlier in the day, persistent rains threatened to wash away the game. After several inspections the umpires decided to make it a 20 overs a side affair. Kent skipper, former South African international Martin van Jaarsveld won the toss and had no hesitation to field first in damp conditions. India had made couple of changes in the team, bringing in Rahul Dravid and R Vinay Kumar instead of Sachin Tendulkar and Praveen Kumar. Gautam Gambhir was once again excluded from the playing XI to blurred vision.

Dravid, making a comeback to the one-day setup after a long hiatus opened the batting with Parthiv Patel. The diminutive wicketkeeper, who scored a half century yesterday, failed this time and was dismissed in the first over itself, edging David Balcombe to former English test keeper Geraint Jones behind the stumps for 1.

Virat Kohli, after a match winning against Sussex, came out at number 3 and continued in the same vein. He did the bulk of the scoring in his association with Dravid and took the score past 50. Soon after the powerplay, India lost its second wicket when Dravid (15) was sent back by Adam Ball. Rohit Sharma came out to join forces with Kohli and once again the two young guns batted beautifully to get the Indian innings back on track. The duo added 69 runs in quick time to set up a nice platform from where they can launch in the final overs. Kohli once again showed great adaptability and got his second half century, off 38 balls. Sharma however, couldn't carry on for long and was bowled by Adam Riley for 30. Kohli departed soon after for a brilliant 53 ball 78, which included 7 boundaries and three sixes. English offspinner James Tredwell then rocked the visitors with a double strike, getting Suresh Raina (4) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (0) in quick seccession. But late fireworks from Ravichandran Ashwin, who hit 2 boundaries and a six in his cameo of 23* off just 12 balls, took India to a very competitive 164/6.

In reply, Kent were off to a brisk start. RP Singh, who took a 4 wicket haul yesterday, got the first breakthrough for the visitors when he got rid off Daniel Bell-Drummond for a run a ball 11. His opening partner Joe Denly was hardly troubled and scored freely. He shared two vital partnerships, first a 60 runs stand with skipper Van Jaarsveld (17) and then a 73 run association with Darren Stevens to keep Kent in the hunt. In the meantime, he also brought up his century, off just 67 balls with the help of 8 hits to the fence and 3 over it. But he couldn't see his team through and was finally dismissed in the penultimate over for exactly a hundred with 9 more runs required off 7 balls. Munaf Patel, who has had a terrible time in the practice matches on the tour thus far, bowled a superb final over as the home team wilted under pressure, losing two wickets in the final two balls to hand a 5 run victory to India.

India now head to Leicester where they have their final limited overs practice meath before the Twenty20 contest against England on Wednesday, 31st August.

Mini Scorecard:

India 164/6 (20 overs, run rate 8.20)

V Kohli 78(53) J Tredwell 2/18

R Sharma 30(28) A Ball 1/20

Kent 159/5 (20 overs, run rate 7.95)

J Denly 100 (68) RP Singh 2/36

D Stevens 17(19) M Patel 1/22