India rode on the superb performance by debutants Krunal Pandya and Prasidh Krishna to register a convincing 66-run victory over world champions England in the first ODI of the three-match series in Pune on Tuesday.
With this win, India has gone 1-0 up in the three-match series. Both teams will now lock horns in the second ODI on Friday.
After under-fire 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.
Chasing 318, England got off to an ideal start as openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow made full use of the powerplay overs and the visitors scored 89 runs without losing a wicket inside the first ten overs. Bairstow and Roy eventually put on 135 runs for the first wicket inside 15 overs.
Bairstow went past his half-century, but Roy (46) ended up missing the milestone as he was sent back to the pavilion by Prasidh Krishna. This was Krishna’s first wicket in ODI cricket. In his very next over, Krishna sent Ben Stokes (1) back to the pavilion, reducing the visitors to 137/2. Bairstow (94) also missed out on his century as he was dismissed by Shardul Thakur with England still needing 149 runs for the win.
England’s innings further derailed in the 25th over as Shardul helped the hosts see the back of skipper Eoin Morgan (22) and Jos Buttler (2), reducing the visitors to 176/5. Sam Billings and Moeen Ali then formed a 41-run stand for the sixth wicket but with 101 runs away from victory, Billings (18) ended up losing his wicket to Krishna, reducing England to 217/6 in the 33rd over.
Sam Curran and Moeen Ali put on 20 runs for the seventh wicket, but this stand was cut short by Bhuvneshwar Kumar as he dismissed Ali (30) and India looked set for a famous comeback victory in the first ODI. In the very next over, Krunal Pandya removed Sam Curran (12) and the hosts were looking to finish the match in a jiffy. In the end, the hosts won the match by 66 runs. For the hosts, Prasidh Krishna scalped four figures and he returned with the best bowling figures for an Indian debutant in an ODI.
Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan (98) and Virat Kohli (56) might have set the platform at the top, but it was KL Rahul (62*) and Krunal Pandya’s (58*) blitz in the end that propelled India’s score to 317/5. The duo added 111 of their 112 runs in the last nine overs as they sent the English bowlers on a leather hunt. Asked to bat first, India got off to a cautious start as openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan put on 39 runs inside the first ten overs. The score would have been more but England’s ground-fielding was up to the mark and the visitors clearly saved 20 runs in the first ten.
Stokes, who was playing his first ODI after the 2019 World Cup final against New Zealand, provided the first breakthrough to England as he had Rohit (28) caught at the hands of wicketkeeper Jos Buttler in the 16th over of the innings, ending the opening partnership of 64. Skipper Virat Kohli next joined Dhawan in the middle and the duo started accumulating runs at a brisk pace. The left-handed Dhawan started off the 24th over with a six and as a result, he brought up his half-century. Both Kohli and Dhawan put on 105 runs for the second wicket, and it also saw Kohli going past his 50. But in trying to accelerate further, skipper Kohli (56) ended up giving his wicket away to Mark Wood, reducing hosts to 169/2 in the 33rd over.
Shreyas Iyer, who came out to bat at number four, was not able to impress with the bat and he departed after scoring just six runs. England managed to bog down Dhawan (98) when the left-handed was in his 90s, and this brought about his dismissal in the 39th over. Soon after, Hardik Pandya (1) also ended up giving his wicket to Stokes and this left the hosts in a spot of bother with 9.3 overs still left in the innings.
Making his debut, Krunal did now show any nerves and he smashed boundaries consistently to help India rocket along in the final overs. The left-hander also registered a half-century in his first ODI and he created the record for the fastest fifty scored by a debutant in ODI cricket — 26 balls. In the final five overs, the hosts managed to score 67 more runs and India cruised past the 300-run mark. Krunal and Rahul clearly took the English bowlers by surprise as they kept matching each other shot for shot.
Brief Scores: India 317/5 (Shikhar Dhawan 98, KL Rahul 62*, Ben Stokes 3-34) vs England 251 (Jonny Bairstow 94, Jason Roy 46, Prasidh Krishna 4-54).
(With Agencies inputs)