Pune: England made light work of a 337-run target, courtesy a six-hitting spree from Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes to thrash India by six wickets in the 2nd ODI and level the 3-match series at 1-1, at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, here on Friday.
Sent to bat first, a classy century by KL Rahul (108) and fifty by Rishabh Pant (77) powered India to an imposing total of 336/6 in 50 overs. Captain Virat Kohli also played a valuable knock (66) while Hardik Pandya (35 off 16 balls) hit some breathtaking shots in slog overs.
In reply, England made a mockery of a 337-run target and cruised past the finish line in just 43.3 overs despite stuttering a bit towards the end.
Chasing an imposing target, England stayed on top right from the start as Jason Roy (55) and Jonny Bairstow (124) stitched a vital century-run partnership. Roy added a 110-run partnership for England’s opening wicket with Bairstow before an unfortunate mix up resulted in his departure in the 17th over.
Ben Stokes (99 off 62), who came to bat at No 3 played a breathtaking knock and missed out on a deserving hundred after a blazing 165-run stand with Bairstow. Bhuvneshwar Kumar broke the fiery partnership in the 36th over.
India suddenly were given a glimmer of hope when Bairstow hit one straight to Virat Kohli at the cover and Jos Buttler followed him back to the pavilion after getting brilliantly yorked by Prasidh Krishna.
However, debutant Liam Livingstone (27 off 21) and Malan (16) ensured that England didn’t collapse like they did in the first ODI and took their side over the line in just 43.3 overs with six wickets in hand.
Earlier, India didn’t have a great start as Reece Topley dismissed Shikhar Dhawan (4 off 17 balls) in the 4th over of the innings. Rohit Sharma ( 25 off 25 balls), who looked in great touch, was the next one to depart as he hit the ball straight to Adil Rashid at short fine-leg in the bowling of Sam Curran.
After the early dismissal of openers Rohit and Dhawan, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul rotated the strike very well and took India to 103/2 after 23 overs.
Continuing his brilliant form, Virat Kohli scored his 62nd ODI half-century off 62 balls. It was his 5th fifty in the last 6 ODI innings. On the other hand, KL Rahul who was struggling to put bat to ball in the T20Is just a week back also hit the 10th half-century in ODIs and 2nd in succession in this series.
Adil Rashid gave England the much-needed breakthrough, getting rid of Virat Kohli ( 66 off 79 balls). Kohli and Rahul added 121 runs for the third wicket and set a great platform for a charge from the power-packed Indian middle order.
After Kohli’s wicket, Rishabh Pant joined KL Rahul in the middle. In the last 10 overs, Pant entered in punishing mode and dealt in sixes, completing his 50 off just 28 balls while Rahul slammed his 5th hundred in 108 balls and became the first centurion in the ODI series from either side.
Rahul and Pant put on 113 runs off 80 deliveries before KL got out in the 45th over. The stand between them put India in a great position to tee off in the final few overs with their power hitters.
After Rahul fell, Pant continued his six-hitting spree with Hardik Pandya (35 off 16 balls). They put on 37 runs off 13 deliveries, smashing 5 sixes in that period before Pant was caught by Jason Roy at the third man of Tom Curran for 77 off 40 deliveries.
Krunal (12*) then joined Hardik at the crease and added 35 off 16 deliveries with some lusty blows, taking India to 336/3. India managed 126 runs in the last 10 overs.
For England, Reece Topley (2/50) and Tom Curran (2/83) claimed two wickets, while Sam Curran (1/47), and Adil Rashid (1/65) accounted for one wicket each.