England are confident captain Stuart Broad will be ready for the start of their World Twenty20 campaign after he played a curtailed role in yesterday’s warm-up defeat by India.
Broad has been battling tendonitis in his right knee since the back end of the West Indies tour and missed his side’s last three T20 fixtures before making a cameo appearance in the 20-run loss in Dhaka.
Teams are allowed to use their full squads in the practice matches and England took advantage of that rule by keeping the same XI who had been beaten by the Windies on Tuesday and adding Broad to the mix.
Eoin Morgan continued as stand-in skipper with Broad only present for a fraction of the proceedings, but a return to the ranks appears imminent.
Broad fielded only long enough to make himself eligible to bowl two overs and left the field as soon as his spell was over, but he showed no obvious discomfort and sent the ball down at close to full pace.
With England’s other seamers struggling for consistency – Tim Bresnan, Jade Dernbach and Chris Jordan all went at least nine an over as India made 178 for four – Broad will be needed for the opening game against New Zealand in Chittagong.
Spinner James Tredwell said: “It’s looking pretty good for Stuart. I think that it went to plan today – two overs – and he had a bit of a bat before play started.
“He’s heading in the right direction and I’m sure he’ll be wanting to get on the field on Saturday and play.
“He’s one we ink into the 11 and his leadership skills are part of his role. We’ve got Eoin, who’s done brilliantly on the field, but Stuart has been involved in the planning and how we go about things out in the middle.
“He’s taken a full role when he’s been out and when he is fit he will take over.”
Even with Broad back in position, England can hardly enter their tournament opener against New Zealand in buoyant mood.
Having lost their short-form series 2-1 in the Caribbean earlier this month, they have now been beaten in both warm-up fixtures in Bangladesh.
Chris Gayle led the way as West Indies outgunned them in Fatullah, while Virat Kohli (74 not out) and Suresh Raina (54) saw India to victory in Mirpur.
Michael Lumb’s punchy 36 hinted briefly at a viable chase and although Moeen Ali outscored him by ten, much of the latter’s innings was too sedate to worry the Indians.
Jos Buttler softened the margin of defeat with two fours and two sixes but England finished well off the pace at 158 for six.
But Tredwell was refusing to dwell on the negatives.
“I think we’d like this result to have gone our way but there were a lot more positives from this game than the last one.
“We’re on the right track I guess as we head to Chittagong and prepare for the first game.
“If we continue that work ethic and look to improve our skills, hopefully the right things will happen for us in the tournament.”
Meanwhile, Ireland took a huge leap forward in their bid to qualify for the main draw of the ICC World Twenty20 with a 21-run win under the Duckworth-Lewis method over the United Arab Emirates in Sylhet.
Following their dramatic last-ball victory over Zimbabwe on St Patrick’s Day, William Porterfield’s men restricted the UAE to a paltry 123 for six after winning the toss, with Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien each taking two wickets.
The total never looked enough after Porterfield and Ed Joyce put on an 80-run partnership, but Ireland were denied the chance to cross the finish line when the floodlights twice went out at the Sylhet Stadium and, with rain following, the match was quickly called to a halt.
With Ireland well ahead of par on 103 for three, they were awarded the points.
They now just need to beat Holland in their final group match to book their spot into the main draw, where the likes of England, Sri Lanka and South Africa await.
Having won the toss, Ireland opted to field first and UAE’s batsmen only found the rope 11 times in their 20 overs.
Stirling showed them how it was done in Ireland’s reply with two fours in the first over before having to retire hurt. Porterfield (33no) and Joyce (43) continued to thrive, however.