Hosts face make-or-break situation against a rampant English side
Due to an outrageous performance by the England batsmen, chasing 337 with ease, we are now all set for a series decider on Sunday. It was due to the Bairstow-Stokes partnership that India were blasted out off the game The game-changer, Ben Stokes, scored a rapid 99 from just 52 balls to help gun down a massive total of 337. He obliterated the Indian ODI squad, smashing 10 sixes and 4 fours. Kuldeep Yadav, in particular, faced harsh treatment.
This is the first time England have ever successfully chased a 300+ score in an ODI in India. #INDvENG
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) March 26, 2021
Jonny Bairstow continued his terrific form in the series, with a magnificent ton, scoring 124 from just 112 balls. He hit 7 sixes and 12 fours. Now with a series win on the line, the Indian ODI squad will need to summon all of their strength, in order to prevent an in-form top-order of England, going riot.
Stand-in captain Jos Buttler praised his team’s opening partnership, saying that they were “The best in the world in ODI cricket.”
Kohli’s spin conundrum
The Indian spinners struggled significantly in the second ODI. They conceded 156 runs in 16 overs, in total. At this point in time, it is probably difficult to call Krunal Pandya, a genuine all-rounder, at least in international cricket. Hence, there is a lot of responsibility on Kuldeep Yadav being the authentic chinaman.
But unfortunately, Kuldeep Yadav is currently going through a dreadful patch in his career. Since the 2019 Indian Premier League, the chinaman has struggled for fluency in his bowling.
Will Kohli continue backing Kuldeep, or drop him with the series at stake? The latter seems more likely, as he bowled with little confidence in the second ODI. This means that Chahal will most probably get a go on Sunday.
It could be a big opportunity for him to prove his worth. India might also consider replacing Krunal Pandya with Washington Sundar, as the former went at over 12 runs an over in the second ODI.
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A one-dimensional batting approach
After the second ODI, India were hugely criticised for their batting approach, especially in the middle overs. While, the Indian spinners conceded almost 10 runs per over, Moeen Ali bowled with at an economy rate of just 4.7 (despite bowling his full quota of 10 overs).
This represents India’s poor intent against spinners. India scored 336 in the first innings and England chased the total with utmost ease, with 6.3 overs (39 balls) remaining.
India have the personnel in Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya and Rishabh Pant to attack spinners and there is some argument that one of them should be promoted in order to do so.
However, both teams use a different approach and it has worked for them in the past. So, it is hard to judge whether one game is enough to change tactics.
Should India lose the toss on Sunday, they will need to score at a better rate in the third ODI. Another par or below-par total could result in a gun England batting order chasing it down yet again.
A big hundred from the run-machine?
Virat Kohli, yet again, crossed the 50-run mark but could not convert it into a century. His last four scores in ODI cricket are as follows:
Last 4 ODI Innings
89 vs AUS
63 vs AUS
56 vs ENG
66 vs ENG#INDvENG
— CricBeat (@Cric_beat) March 26, 2021
The skipper is in great form, but such is the standards that he has set, that anything less than a century seems inadequate from Kohli’s bat.
I never played for hundreds in my life, probably why I ended up getting so many in such a short while. It’s more important for the team to win. If I get a three-figure score and the team doesn’t win, it means nothing: Virat Kohli
Still, the Indian ODI squad and management will expect a big-score from their most important batsman in the final ODI on Sunday.
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Changes to England’s ODI side?
Reece Topley, who replaced Mark Wood in the second game did a fantastic job, especially in the death-overs. He troubled India’s batsmen in the powerplay and also picked up two crucial wickets. If Mark Wood returns for the final ODI, Tom Curran might make way for him, as he was quite expensive in the second match, conceding 83 runs in 10 overs.
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