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Dream debuts: Rookies Krishna and Krunal shine to give India 1-0 lead against England

After opener Shikhar Dhawan delivered with a solid 98, Krunal (58 not out off 31) smashed the fastest fifty by a debutant to fire India to 317 for five following England's decision to field.

Published: 23rd March 2021 09:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2021 02:00 AM   |  A+A-

India's captain Virat Kohli, third right, and teammates celebrate their win in the first ODI at Pune. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

PUNE: AT the fag end of a long international cricketing season, this three-match ODI series definitely looks out of place.

Especially when there is no 50-over tournament to look forward in the distant future. The manner in which the T20 series panned out with a World Cup looming, additional number of matches in the shortest format would have made everyone happy.

Not this. For players especially, this is a series which could have been avoidable. It would have helped them get a break from living under a bio-bubble before they join their respective IPL teams.

Like many things that don't make sense in cricket, they are trying to find one in this three ODIs that is slotted in between T20s.

One could argue that this isn't inconsequential, for it comes under the World Super League that acts as a Qualifier for the 2023 World Cup.

Any points that England gain will only give them an advantage, but there is something called  timing, an aspect that is so important for cricketers, which seems to be of no significance to the organisers.

How England — naming a near full-strength side — and India — preferring to rest several of their first-choice players — told this its own story about the teams view this series.

The only significance this series offers for India is, if they manage to beat England by a 3-0 scoreline, they will raise to the top of ICC ODI rankings.

Courtesy their 66-run win at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Tuesday, the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the series.

This win would be a pleasing one for India.

The season of their newbies striking gold straightaway in the international arena continues to spill across formats.

The list is already long enough and on Tuesday, Krunal Pandya, with an unbeaten 58 off 31 deliveries (the fastest fifty by a debutant off 26 balls), not only rescued India but also powered them to 317.

Then, another debutant, Prasidh Krishna, brought them back into the game by removing Jason Roy and Ben Stokes when England were running away with the game.

Complimenting the two debutants, Shikhar Dhawan (98), KL Rahul (62 not out) and Virat Kohli (56) played their part with the bat in an innings that was more of a start-stop-start affair.

Whenever they looked to be in a position to accelerate, they lost wickets, leaving the job to the other, before Krunal and Rahul provided the finishing touches the innings desperately needed.

Defending 317, which appeared a par-total on the surface, India didn't seem to have any answers to England's onslaught at the top, orchestrated by Jonny Bairstow, who scored a violent 94 off 66 deliveries.

England started with a flurry of boundaries, making full use of the first powerplay, scoring 89 runs. 131 at the end of 14th over, with a required rate of 5.19 runs, England appeared to coast before Roy's and Stokes' dismissals gave India an opening.

Despite losing wickets, England didn't shelve their aggressive approach and it more or less led to their downfall too as India picked up wickets at regular intervals.

By the time, Shardul Thakur removed Bairstow with a knuckleball, India had wrestled the momentum back from England.

Though the spinners couldn't be as effective, Krishna, Bhuveshwar Kumar and Thakur did the job for India.



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