On batting belters that have been on offer at the Gahunje Stadium, England hit an astounding 20 sixes in a 337-run chase which became a cakewalk, thanks to inept bowling from spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya.
Never before captain Virat Kohli missed Ravindra Jadeja as much as he would have on Friday when Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes took the mickey out of India’s left-arm wrist and orthodox spinners. In the bowling department, chinaman Kuldeep scripted an unwanted record when he conceded eight sixes, the most by an India bowler in an ODI.
He leaked 84 runs in the second game after giving 64 runs in the first. And, so did Krunal, who gave away 72 runs in six overs with an embarrassing average of 12 per over.
So, the duo is likely to be replaced by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar, who can also chip in with the bat if needed.
From the team’s perspective, it would be impossible to ignore Chahal’s inclusion in the playing eleven even though the Haryana leg-spinner hasn’t been in the best of form. Pandya senior could still make it to the team because of his batting skills, but the apology of left-arm spin has certainly ensured that he won’t be considered as a long-term option.
In terms of batting, a total of 337 is certainly not bad by any standards but perhaps India can now look to have a strategic shift in terms of the innings building process. Kohli, who hit two successive 50-plus scores, would be keen to carry his form and end the century drought.
The India skipper has however made it clear that he is not looking at milestones.
“I never played for 100s in my life, that is probably why I ended up getting so many in such little time,” Kohli had said. For the record, his last century came in August 2019 in this format.
Hardik Pandya would continue to play his role of a finisher but question mark remains on what kind of workload management is happening, considering that he has rarely bowled save a few overs in the recently concluded T20 International.
Meanwhile, England would be bolstered by its Friday’s performance and the biggest positive would be the return of form of Ben Stokes. Openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow would hope to give the visitor another flying start in the powerplay overs.
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