Sunday, June 4, 2023

Stokes and Bairstow’s heroics power England to a 6 wicket victory to level the series

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It was absolute carnage at Pune as Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes powered England to a 6 wicket victory in the 2nd ODI as the visitors keep themselves alive in the series. England persuaded their strategy of winning the toss and bowling.

After being in a spot of bother at 37-2, it was captain Virat Kohli and KL Rahul who rescued India in the initial overs. The duo snitched up a 121-run partnership for the 3rd wicket which steadied the ship for India. Kohli continued his good form with the bat as he played some classy shots and was successful in rotating the strike. Just when he was progressing towards his 44th ODI century, fans were left heartbroken as Kohli was dismissed by Adil Rashid for 66(79) .

It was yet another masterclass from Kohli but was dismissed by an excellent delivery from Rashid. His partner Kl Rahul, carried the innings forward and was back among the runs as he brought up his 5th ODI hundred. Rahul took some time in the initial stage but was flawless his innings of 108(114) as he played some attracted and effortless shots and was well assisted by Rishabh Pant who provided the correct fire power to the Indian innings. Pant made a firing 77(40) and added 113 runs with Rahul. Hardik Pandya provided the perfect finish as he scored 35(16) with 4 sixes and 1 four. India finished on a mountain of a score of 336/6.

In reply, English openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow laid the foundation by giving a quick start at the top. Roy (55) was the aggressor as he took complete advantage of the field restrictions . After his dismissal, Ben Stokes was promoted at No.3 which proved to be a masterstroke was both Bairstow and Stokes attacked from both the end and this partnership took the game away from India. It was expected to be a tough task to chase 336 but these two made it a cake walk as they chased it down in 43.3 overs with 6 wickets remaining.. Bairstow and Stokes added a mammoth 177 runs for the 2nd wicket which sealed the show for the visitors. Bairstow scored a clinical 124(112) which included 11 fours and 7 sixes and was fluent in his innings. Stokes yet again showed his value but missed his well deserved century by just 1 run as he finished on 99 (52) . Stokes powered his innings with 4 fours and 11 huge sixes. He scored his last 49 runs in just 12 deliveries. Indian bowling looked pale infront of these two. However, Prasidh Krishna and Bhuveneshwar Kumar brought the tiniest of hopes for India as they provided 3 breakthroughs. But some bizarre tactics were used by India as Buvneshwar ad Prasidh, who provided them the wickets were changed, and India brought the spinners again. England played confidently and put the innings on course again. At one stage, there was a bit of panic but Malan and Livingstone ensured to not have more hiccups and crossed the line comfortably.

With the series levelled at 1-1 , the decider is to be played on Sunday . India missed the 6th bowling option in this match and will have to find a way to add another bowling option keeping the side’s combination in mind . Whereas England will look continue their momentum and return home on a high.

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