Ben Stokes’ swashbuckling 99 and in-form England opener Jonny Bairstow’s 112-ball 124 saw England register a six-wicket win over India in the second ODI here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Friday.
Chasing a mammoth target of 337, the visitors crusied home with 39 balls to spare as they levelled the three-match series 1-1. If the Indian batsmen stole the show in the afternoon, it was the turn of the English batters under lights to showcase some quality strokeplay. The decider will be played on Sunday. The foundation of every successful chase is a strong foundation and England had the best possible start as openers Jason Roy and Bairstow scripted a hundred-plus partnership for the first wicket.
The duo started the innings cautiously, but took charge after the initial spell from the Indian bowlers. The visitors looked to be in cruise mode before a piece of brilliance on the field from Rohit Sharma in the 17th over saw Roy get run out after hitting a top-quality 55.
Stokes joined Bairstow in the middle and made his intentions clear from the word go as he went hammer and tongs from the word go. The duo added 175 for the second wicket and that set the momentum for the visitors.
Stokes missed out on a much-deserved ton as he got out on 99 off 52 balls — studded with 10 sixes. Wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant caught Stokes off Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the 36th over but it was too late for India as England were only 52 runs away from the target with eight wickets remaining.
In the very next over, Prasidh Krishna picked two wickets as he first got rid of centurion Bairstow and then picked stand-in skipper Jos Buttler for a three-ball duck. But it didn’t make much difference to the chase. Dawid Malan and debutant Liam Livingstone stitched an unbeaten 50-run partnership to take the side home. Livingstone scored 27* while Malan returned unbeaten on 16.
India had a poor start as in-form Shikhar Dhawan got out cheaply in the fourth over. Pacer Reece Topley scalped Dhawan (9) and provided an early breakthrough to his side. Skipper Virat Kohli joined Rohit Sharma in the middle.
Brief Scores: India 336/6 (KL Rahul 108, Rishabh Pant 77; Reece Topley 2-50); England 337/4 (Jonny Bairstow 124, Ben Stokes 99; Prasidh Krishna 2-58);