India vs England ODI Series Review: Aggressive Batting, Impressive Debuts, Bhuvneshwar’s Economy & Rishabh Pant On Fire
It was a thrilling finale to what has been a pulsating three-match ODI series between India and England in Pune. The home team held their nerves and came out victorious by 7 runs to clinch the series 2-1 against the number one side in the world. There were some magnificent performances throughout the three matches and some world class display of power-hitting during the series. We look at some of the players, numbers and performances which stood out from the series.
4 out of 5 for India
India extended their dominance over England with their fourth series win in the last five bilateral clashes between the two countries. India beat England 3-2 in 2013 and then recorded a 3-1 victory in England in 2014. India won the home series in 2017 with a 2-1 margin and now have registered another triumph at home by the same margin in 2021.
Live By the Sword & Die By It
Both the teams adopted a similar strategy in batting throughout the series. England have based their success on an all-out attack policy in batting and continued in the same vein in the series. They chased down 336 in the second ODI and almost pulled it off in the decider too. The visitors might have missed a trick by not being a little flexible in approach especially on Sunday when wickets in hand was the key to their chase.
Virat Kohli had promised a new brand of cricket in the limited overs series against England. He had emphasized the need for more urgency, positive intent and an aggressive approach by India in both the T20I and the ODI series. The captain walked the talk and backed by his batsmen delivered the results for the team in both the formats.
It was a well thought out plan and strategy by the Indian think tank – they understood the need to attack continuously and take more initiative in the powerplay and the middle overs in order to be successful against sides like England and the West Indies in major world tournaments. India had the services of Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant in the middle-order and thus the top-order could take more risks and bat with more freedom – the gamble paid off!
High Scoring Series
It was a series dominated by batsmen of both the units. Five of the 6 team totals in the series were in excess of 300. The average run rate of the series was 6.62 – the second-highest amongst the 15 India-England bilateral encounters (min. 3 matches) after the home series in India in 2017.
As many as 7 batsmen finished with a strike rate of 100 or more in the series (min.100 runs).
Two Impressive Debuts
The series saw two impressive ODI debuts. Krunal Pandya hammered a match-defining 58 off just 31 deliveries from number 7 in the series opener which also saw Prasidh Krishna return with the best bowling figures by an Indian bowler on ODI debut.
It continued a trend starting from the Test series in Australia where in a time-period of 4 months India has unleashed some exceptional new talent who have collectively come together to produce some outstanding performances for the country.
Bairstow & Pant – The Two Highest Impact Batsmen of the Series
No two batsmen in the series defined the aggressive batting better than Jonny Bairstow and Rishabh Pant. The England opener lived up to his reputation of one of the most dangerous and sought after openers in ODI history hammering 94 off just 66 deliveries in the first match of the series. He then produced a match-winning 124 off 112 deliveries helping England chase down 336 in the second encounter. Bairstow smashed as many as 14 sixes in the series and was the highest run-getter striking at 120.32. He has a batting average of 48.25 and strike rate of 104.64 in ODI cricket!
Rishabh Pant enhanced his reputation and continued from where he had left in red and pink ball cricket. The left-hander combined magnificent stroke-play with courage, valour and cricketing intelligence and produced the two highest scores of his ODI career in this series. He scored 77 off 40 deliveries in the second match before top-scoring for India with 78 off 62 deliveries in the decider. His clean striking, 11 sixes and strike rate of 151.96 – the highest in the series – stood out.
Pant did not start for India in the series opener and was only included in the XI after the injury to Shreyas Iyer. He ended the series as India’s highest impact batsman sealing a permanent middle-order berth kicking off his ODI career.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – The Highest Impact Bowler of the series
In a series dominated by batsmen, it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar who emerged as the difference between the two sides and the highest impact bowler of the series. Kumar delivered a series-defining performance in the decider and was also the highest impact player of the series for his phenomenally restrictive bowling coupled with crucial breakthroughs when all the other bowlers took a beating.
He returned with 6 wickets in the series, three of which came at critical junctures in the final match of the series, but more significantly was brilliantly restrictive with an economy rate of just 4.65. He delivered as many as 106 dot balls in the series which implied that nearly 60% of his deliveries were not scored off in the series.
Thakur – The Wicket-Taker
Although he was smashed for a few boundaries at the death in the decider, it was the wicket-taking prowess of Shardul Thakur which again stood out in the three-match series. He returned as the highest-wicket taker of the series with 7 wickets at a strike rate of 20.1. Thakur bagged 4 big wickets at crucial times in the decider bringing India back into the match whenever he was given the ball and asked to deliver. He got rid of the dangerous Jos Buttler just when the England captain and Dawid Malan were threatening to form a partnership.
Thakur then gave England a double blow by getting rid of Liam Livingstone and Malan off successive overs just when the pair were taking the game away from India. He then ended a 57-run stand between Curran and Adil Rashid dismissing the latter in the 40th over of the match.