By Shrey Siddharth
The ODI series was all set to proceed in Pune between the 2 top teams in ICC rankings, India and England. England won the toss and decided to bowl on a grassy wicket and soft outfield. They had the unchanged top 5 along with Billings, Moeen, Curran brothers, Rashid and Wood. India went in with the experienced trio of Rohit, Dhawan and Kohli, along with Iyer, Rahul, Hardik in middle order and Thakur, Bhuvneshwar and Kuldeep in the lower order. Krunal Pandya and Prasidh Krishna were making their debut today. Here are the highlights from today’s game:-
Gabbar is back:-
Rohit and Shikhar went off with a slow start as they tried to revive their form. Rohit got out to Stokes after scoring 28 with an opening stand of 64. But Dhawan struck golden form once he started attacking Rashid in the middle overs. He got good support from Kohli at the other end who was riding on his good form scoring a prolific 56 before he got out to Wood. Dhawan kept playing his signature strokes off the English pacers especially targeting the offside region. He fell 2 short of a well deserved hundred.
KP and KL’s onslaught:-
India was struggling at 205-5 when Krunal walked out to the centre to join Rahul with 10 overs left. While Rahul was searching to get bat on the ball, Krunal began his pitch-hitting show pulling Stokes for 2 boundaries. Rahul soon joined the party striking Rashid out of the park. Krunal was pumped up as he scored the fastest 50 debuts. Both Rahul and Krunal remained unbeaten for 62 and 58 respectively. They took India to 317-5 in 50 overs.
England’s dramatic collapse despite ideal start:-
The charismatic duo of Johnny Bairstow and Jason Roy seemed like men possessed. They went on a rampage treating the Indian bowlers like meagre club bowlers as they connected their shots. It seemed as if they would wrap-up the game in 30 overs until Prasidh Krishna got 2 wickets in quick succession in his second spell. Roy got out for 46 and Bairstow perished for 94 trying to reach his century with a big hit. The English batting crumbled like a castle of cards in a matter of 116 runs despite having a 135 run opening stand in 15 overs. Shardul once again showed his antics in his second spell taking 3. The economical Bhuvneswar got 2 while Krunal got 1. Prasidh made history by having the best figures by any Indian bowler on debut with 4-54.
England was all out for 251. India comprehensively won the match by 66 runs and are leading the series by 1-0. Shikhar was awarded the man of the match for his game-changing 98. India showed immense temperament when the game seemed to slip and never gave up until destroying the English batting.
By Shrey Siddharth