India vs England: England Deliver Their A-Game As Stokes, Bairstow Make Mockery of 336
England pulled off their highest chase against India in history making a mockery of the total of 336 racing home with six wickets in hand and over 6 overs to spare. The record batting performance was built around a stunning 175-run stand of just 117 deliveries for the second-wicket between Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes. England romped home to a crushing win in the 44th over.
India were in the driver’s seat, or so they hoped after the first half of the match in which they recovered from a shaky start to put a mammoth 336 for 6 in their allotted 50 overs – their fifth-highest score in ODI cricket against England. The home team lost their openers – Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma within the first powerplay but recovered through a 121-run stand between Virat Kohli and KL Rahul.
Kohli registered yet another fifty but failed to convert it into that elusive three-digit score which has been evading him since November 2019 as he was dismissed by Adil Rashid for 66. Rahul then partnered with the swashbuckling Rishabh Pant to put together the second century stand for India – the pair added 113 off just 80 deliveries with Pant going ballistic with 77 off just 40 deliveries – a knock powered by as many as 7 sixes.
Hardik Pandya played a cameo 35 off just 16 balls taking India to a massive total. Tom Curran went for 83 in his 10 overs and Ben Stokes was smashed for 42 off his 5. Moeen Ali was the most economical bowler of the innings giving away just 47 runs in his 10 overs.
The great opening pair of England – Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow gave the team their second hundred opening-wicket stand of the series adding 110 in just under 17 overs. Stokes was again promoted to number 3 and made the most of the opportunity this time around. He hammered a scintillating 99 off just 52 deliveries hitting as many as 10 sixes in his match-defining innings.
Bairstow continued from where he left off in the series opener and recorded 124 off just 112 deliveries. The pair took away the match from India exhibiting some exhilarating display of batting on a flat deck.
Prasidh Krishna was the most impressive Indian bowler picking two wickets and going for 58 runs in his 10 overs. Kuldeep Yadav continued to struggle and was taken to the cleaners going for 84 runs in his 10 overs which included 8 sixes. Krunal Pandya also had a bad day with the ball and was tonked for 72 off his 6 overs.
This was England’s highest chase against India in ODI cricket and their fifth-highest overall. Their previous highest against India – 266 for 6 – came at Leeds way back in 1974.
They walked the talk and continued their aggressive approach despite being criticised for it in the series opener.
India need to find a way to restrict the England top-order and pick wickets with the new ball.
With the series tied at 1-1, both the teams have a lot at stake in the decider on Sunday. Given the good batting surfaces and the world class batting line-up of both the teams, chasing might be a better option on the 28th of March.