India vs England: Shardul Thakur-India’s New Breakthrough Bowler Brings Out his ‘A’ Game

India vs England: Shardul Thakur-India's New Breakthrough Bowler Brings Out his 'A' Game

Shardul Thakur had to wait for his turn. His India dream wouldn’t have been realised had he not remained patient and resilient. The 29-year-old finished at the top of the wicket-charts in the recently concluded ODI and T20I series against England. Throughout the series, he quite effectively deployed those slow off cutters to deceive the batsman. And gotten wickets in quick succession against the run of play. In ODI series, his first spells were usually dry but Shardul at 29 is more resilient than ever. He came back and got India breakthroughs they were looking for.

Here is a quick recap of last fortnight:

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1st T20I (England win by 8 wickets; Shardul 0/16): In a match where nothing went in India’s favour, Shardul gave away 16 runs and took no wickets. The visitors too ran away with the game with 8 wickets.

2nd T20I (India win by 7 wickets; Shardul 2/29): With figures of 2/29, Shardul finally came to party as he dismissed two well set England batsmen: Eoin Morgan (28 off 20) and Ben Stokes (24 off 21). They were chasing 165 and were 142/4 at the time. Both Morgan and Stokes were well set and threatening to cut loose when Shardul took them out with his slower balls.

3rd T20I (England win by 8 wickets; Shardul 0/36): In a copycat performance to the series opener, India’s fortunes in this game dwindled and so did Shardul’s. This time his figures became even worse as he went for 36 and wasn’t able to complete his full quota of overs.

4th T20I (India win by 8 runs; Shardul 3/42): With series on the line, Shardul brought his ‘A’ game to the fore. England needed 37 more and with two set batters in Stokes and Morgan, India were desperate for a breakthrough. Shardul deceived Stokes with a slower off cutter and then removed Morgan the very next ball to knock the fight out of England’s chase.

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5th T20I (India win by 36 runs; Shardul 3/45): Throughout the series, Shardul got high-value targets, giving India breakthroughs against the run of play. This trend continued in the series decider too. He dismissed England top-scorer Dawid Malan (68) and Jonny Bairstow in the very same over. As a result England who were 140/2 before 14th over went onto lose six wickets for 48 runs.

1st ODI (India win by 66 runs; Shardul 3/37): As mentioned above, throughout the series Thakur accounted for prized wickets. In this game, he took the wicket of Jonny Bairstow (94 off 66 balls) who was threatening to take the game away from India. Then came wickets in quick succession, another trademark of his in the series. In the 24th over, he accounted for Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler in space of three balls to reduce England to 176/5. Later debutante Parsidh Krishna and Bhuvneshwar Kumar ran through the English line up as they went onto lose the game. Not to mention that they were 135/0 in the 14th over, chasing 318.

2nd ODI (England win by 6 wickets; Shardul 54/0): On a flat-track, this time Shardul’s magic didn’t work. His slow balls were well accounted for by Jonny Bairstow (124 off 112 balls) who got out to the Mumbaikar last time around. Again, Kohli threw the ball to Thakur to make a breakthrough against the run of play, he failed and the result’s out there for all of us to see. England did get reduced to 287/4 but it was a matter of too little, too late.

3rd ODI (India won by 7 runs; Shardul 4/67): Thakur played his part as a batman earlier scoring 30 off 21 but his contribution as a bowler is where he packed the sucker punch. He first removed England captain Jos Buttler and then in a quick succession dismissed Liam Livingstone (36 off 31) and Dawid Malan(50 off 50). As the numbers suggest, those two were well set and ready to implode. Shardul bowled a full toss to dismiss Livingstone and then had Malan caught with a short ball which took him by surprise.


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