By Shrey Siddharth
The decider game between India and England was all set for a cracker jack contest in Pune. England yet again won the toss and decided to field. They brought Wood in for Tom Curran. India replaced Kuldeep with Natarajan. Here are the highlights from today’s game:-
Shikhar and Hardik’s key contribution:-
Shikhar and Rohit gave India a desirable start to put up 103 for the opening stand. Even if Rohit, Virat and Rahul fell to the spinners in the middle overs, Shikhar backed his shots and built the partnership with Pant. Shikhar played to his strength and showed his masterful offside strokeplay ranging from cuts to backfoot punches and glorious cover drives until he got out for 67 to Rashid. Hardik carried the momentum as he slogged the English spinners over the cow corner and down the ground. He went on to score 64 before getting bowled down the leg to Stokes.
Rishabh did exactly what he has been doing in crunch games in the past 5 months. He came up with his slog sweep, unorthodox ramp shots and helicopter shot when the field was up. Rishabh went all guns blazing at the England bowlers once he was well set and went on to score an amazing 78 off 62 before getting out to Curran. Shardul played a crucial 20 ball 30 cameo to take India to 329.
Bhuvneshwar and Shardul class act:-
Bhuvneshwar Kumar paved the way to India’s victory picking up the in-form Roy and Bairstow in his first spell. He remained economical throughout the game and also got the wicket of Moeen Ali in his second spell. Shardul once again shined in the middle overs to dismiss Butler LBW for 15 first and then broke the partnership between the dangerous Malan and Livingston for 50 and 36. He got Rashid out for 19 to raise the pressure and finished with 4-67.
Sam ” the Captivating” Curran
Sam Curran took the counter attack against the Indian bowlers from the word go. Despite being dropped at 22, he didn’t lift his foot off the peddle and kept taking the game deep with selective strokeplay. He almost stole the victory from India’s grip even if the wickets kept tumbling at the other end. By scoring an unbeaten magnificent 96, Curran took England to the verge of victory.
Despite the dropped catches, Hardik and Natarajan held their nerves in the death overs to turn the game as India won by 7 runs and also bagged the series 2-1. Despite being in the losing side, Sam Curran won the man of the match for 1 wicket and 96 runs and Bairstow was awarded the man of the series for his destructive performance. After 5 to 6 months of competitive cricket and some iconic victories, India finished the season on a high with a massive victory.