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India vs England 2nd ODI, 2021: Bairstow, Stokes light up the show to level the series 1-1

Brief scores from India vs England 2nd ODI: India 336/6 in 50 overs (KL Rahul 108, Rishabh Pant 70, Virat Kohli 66; Reece Topley 2/50, Tom Curran 2/83)

England 337/4 in 43.3 overs (Jonny Bairstow 124, Ben Stokes 99, Jason Roy 55; Prasidh Krishna 2/58, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/63)

A brave show from England witnessed them level the series in the second ODI in Pune that involved a 337-run chase, courtesy of the heroics from the trio of Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Jason Roy. 

Losing the toss yet again, India were put to bat first and for the second consecutive time this series, the Men in Blue were subject to a rough start to their innings, with openers Rohit Sharma (25) and Shikhar Dhawan (4) being dismissed within the first ten overs.

Sensing the need for a crucial partnership at the stage of the game, KL Rahul then anchored the innings from an end alongside skipper Virat Kohli, who was batting a bit more freedom to keep up the run rate. Their departures brought in Rishabh Pant (70) and Hardik Pandya (35) who went bonkers on the English bowling attack to get India to 336 runs at the end of 50 overs. 

Bowling wise, there wasn’t much both sides could do much on this wicket, with a total of only 10 wickets falling in both innings combined.

Here are the talking points from India vs England 2nd ODI – 

Rahul’s rise to occasion

One of the cricketers from the Indian tent who’s having a confident run with the willow is KL Rahul. Indeed, it has been a great comeback from the Karnataka cricketer in the ongoing 50-over series post the forgettable run in the concluded 5-match T20Is. 

Having scored a rip-roaring 63* in the previous ODI, Rahul carried his form into the must-win one-dayer and played with maturity throughout his stay at the crease.  

Coming out to bat at No 4 when the scorecard read 37/2 in 8.4 overs, Rahul progressed his innings with caution while Virat kept the boundaries incoming at regular intervals. 

The duo stitched a 121-run partnership that brought India into a dominating position by the time Virat was sent back to the pavilion while trying to whip the leggie, Adil Rashid, to midwicket only to be caught by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. 

Virat’s dismissal on 66 remains a talking point from the game as the Delhi-born registered his 7th 50-plus total in the last 11 outings, and crossed the fifty-run mark for the second time this series. 

In the process, Virat went past 10,000 runs at the No. 3 spot while maintaining an average of over 60, making him second only to former Australian great Ricky Ponting who has more runs than the Indian skipper at that position (12,662).

Talking about Rahul, he’s currently leading the batting-charts for India in this series, with 170 runs at a strike rate in excess of 108 and a jaw-dropping average of 170.0.

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Pant, Hardik plunder runs from Englishmen

After Virat’s departure, Rahul carved a 108-run partnership with wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, who unleashed a ballistic attack over the English bowlers. 

Sensing the need to up the run-rate, Pant opted for fearless strokeplay that took him to 40 runs off 28 deliveries, and then an additional 37 runs coming in merely 12 deliveries. The southpaw dominated the rival bowlers while striking at 192.50 in a knock that comprised 3 fours and 7 sixes. 

The Pant-astic inning came to an end in the 47th over but what followed post that dismissal was another massacre, this time by India’s No.6 batter, Hardik Pandya. The all-rounder whacked 4 sixes and a four to take his tally to 35 runs off 15 deliveries but lost to a knuckle ball from Reece Topley in the penultimate ball of the Indian innings. 

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Bairstow-Roy set the innings ablaze, Stokes followed 

England couldn’t have asked for a better start in this outing, considering they had another 300+ run chase to level the series 1-1. The duo of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow delivered just what was expected of them, playing boldly across the stadium with boundary hitting at a frequent rate. 

Roy dashed his way to his first fifty of the tour and while he looked well settled to tonk a mega tally on board, he was involved in a miscommunication with fellow opener Bairstow that got him run-out on 55 in the 17th over. 

Bairstow, having weaved a 110-run opening stand with Roy, then etched another match-winning stand of a galloping 175 runs with No 3 batter Ben Stokes, in the process scoring his 11th hundred in One-Day Internationals. 

Stokes, who although was unfortunate to have been dismissed on 99 runs, accelerated the English run-rate to over 8 runs per over and bringing the required tally to 52 runs off 14.5 overs. 

Bairstow’s departure in the 37th over brought in  Jos Buttler, and while the latter was dismissed in the same over, the chase was well in control for the visitors.

Debutant Liam Livingstone then batted alongside Dawid Malan to finish off the proceedings with 6 wickets in hand and leveling the series 1-1. 

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V Shashank
A cricket aficionado who has been following the game since the historic Ashes 2013-14. "People throw stones at you, you turn them into milestones." - Sachin Tendulkar


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