After being comprehensively beaten in the first game, England’s cricketers impressively levelled the three-game series 1-1 with India by winning by six wickets in Pune. Just like in the first game, it was hosts India who batted first and just like in the first game were able to post an impressive score above 300 (336). Key to this impressive score was Kings XI Punjab captain KL Rahul’s century (108).
Wicket-keeper batsmen Rishabh Pant, was an able ally for Rahul as the Delhi Capital’s player weighed in with a thoroughly entertaining 77. Captain Virat Kohli (66) and Hardik Pandya too made telling contributions for the Indians, which helped the hosts set a target that seemed to be above par. As for England, after initially keeping India quiet in the middle over through spin twins Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, just like in the first game lost their discipline in the final 10 overs as Kohli’s side scored more than 100 in the final 10 overs, for the second game running.
Both Tom Curran (1-83) and Ben Stokes (1-42 off five overs) were on the receiving end of some brutal Rishabh Pant six-hitting. There was one positive for England on the bowling front as tall left-arm seamer Reece Topley made just his second ODI appearance in as many years after hopefully fully overcoming back injuries that have plagued the Surrey fast-bowler. Where pretty much all the England quicks were subject to brutal hitting off their bowling, Topley was able to return decent figures (considering his lengthy absence from the International game) of 2-50 from eight overs.
Tourists England who were left with a daunting run chase in the first game where they were chasing 317 to win, were left with an even bigger total (337) to win this one and level the three-match series. Just like in the first game both Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy seemed in control as the openers again compiled yet another century opening partnership. Unlike the first game, England were arguably a bit more circumspect, but not too circumspect.
After racing to 135-1 in 11.1 overs in the first game, England were scoring at a run a ball and were well in control of the run chase. Not playing overly rash and aggressive shots, India weren’t given a look into the English middle order early on. After settling into their innings nicely, it was of great surprise when Jason Roy was run out for 55. The loss of the opening wicket in the first game, allowed India to wrestle the initiative back from England and win comprehensively in the end.
In this game, Virat’s men were not given the chance as Jonny Bairstow (124) and Ben Stokes (99) played brilliantly and were calculatingly aggressive against the India attack. When both Stokes, Bairstow and even stand-in captain Jos Buttler (0) departed in quick session, less than 100 was needed and there was still 13.2 overs left. Any chance of India winning this one, after they seemed certain, were extinguished as Liam Livingstone (27) and Dawid Malan (16) guided the tourists comfortably home.