Sensational Bairstow-Stokes Batting Powers England To Tremendous Win Over India, Paytm ODI Series Level at 1-1!


 Jonny Bairstow

When a team chases a down a massive target of 337 runs with plenty of overs to spare you can only watch wonder-struck at the sensational batting display that has to be the cause of it and cannot really blame the rival team. England have done this tonight, overcoming the Indian target that looked quite formidable very easily at the end thanks to the spectacular batting performances of all the top three: Jason Roy notching up 55 off 52 balls falling to a terrible run-out; Jonny Bairstow registering a magnificent ton of 124 off just 112 balls; and most importantly, Ben Stokes scoring an incredible 99 in just 52 balls, getting out caught 1 run away from what could have been a memorable century. There were 24 fours and unbelievable 20 sixes (10 of those go to Stokes) in their victorious innings. At one stage of the game they were scoring almost 20 runs an over with Bairstow and Stokes firing all cylinders in their partnership of 175 runs. So then, England won the second one-day international match by 6 wickets with more than 6 overs to spare, thus levelling the Paytm ODI Series at 1-1 in Pune today.

 

Ben Stokes

The Indian players on the field, particularly Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, showed their frustration and irritation quite clearly quite frequently as they looked helplessly at most of their bowlers being hit mercilessly by the England batsmen all around the park with consummate ease. Except for Bhubaneshwar Kumar who too got hit at the death overs, all other India bowlers, particularly Kuldeep Yadav, could not make any impression on the English marauding batsmen. The first wicket of Roy came in the form a run-out thanks to a brilliant piece of fielding by Rohit Sharma, after the first partnership of 110 runs with Bairstow in the 17th over. When India did manage to get three quick wickets in Stokes, Bairstow and Buttler it was too late, because the devastatingly definitive batting left plenty of balls to get the required runs. Curiously for India, both the Pandya brothers continued to play and Hardik Pandya not bowling a single over. Rishabh Pant was brought in replacing Shreyas Iyer who unfortunately got injured in the last match while fielding and was ruled out not only for this series but also for the forthcoming IPL-2021.

 

The batting of the Indians, of a very high order no doubt, goes into oblivion as this failed to win the match for them. Consistent with regained form KL Rahul scored a ton, captain Kohli a half century and Pant and Hardik played explosive innings of 77 (40 balls) and 35 (16 balls) respectively. If one compares the top English batsmen with the Indian counterparts one can see the difference, Indians consuming more balls for the runs scored: Dhawan’s 4 in 17 balls; Kohli’s 66 in 79 balls; and Rahul’s 108 in 114 balls. However, their final score of 336/6 still looked very challenging.

 

There were a few changes in the England team for this match: Liam Livingstone making his ODI debut; Dawid Malan coming in place of injured Sam Billings (I was wondering about him as he was in top form in the T20Is, but the practice of playing only ‘specialized’ players for various formats nowadays leaves out in-form and most useful batsmen in the wilderness on many occasions for many teams); pacer Reece Topley making a comeback after years, replacing Mark Wood; and captain Morgan ruling himself out due to injury. Taking into account the last two T20I matches England have won the toss for the fourth time in a row. English spinner duo Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid bowled much more effectively than the Indian duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya.

 

Now, 28th March is going to be a super Sunday when the cracker of a decider is going to be played between World Champions and No.1 team England and No.2 India. The pressure at the moment seems to be more on India after their bowlers miserably failed to defend a massive total today. Apart from that there is nothing much to choose from the two teams. However, it’s time Virat Kohli wins a toss!

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