The strength of England’s batting unit was in full flow in the 3rd ODI as they chased down a huge target with ease.
Expect England to win the final ODI.
England showed exactly why they are the world champions in ODIs currently after they chased down a huge target of 337 with absolute ease in the 2nd ODI against India. With that brutal show, the series is now leveled 1-1 and the final match on Sunday will decide the series winner. India put up a strong batting show but didn’t go as hard as they could have. Their bowling was pretty mediocre and clearly lacked a punch against such a strong batting unit. England must be soaring high on confidence and begin as favorites for the last ODI.
336-6 would be considered a big total in ODI on most days. But not against a side like England and certainly not on such flat Indian tracks. India’s approach to building an ODI inning remains outdated – they begin slowly and plod around till 30 overs and then start being aggressive only in the last 10. They have the batting depth to target a total of around 375 but they mostly end up with 320-330. On days when their bowling is good, they restrict their oppositions. But when it’s not, like in the last ODI, they are made to suffer.
The problem with India right now is that their top four - Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul – are all very similar types of batsmen. While Rahul did score a hundred in the last ODI and Kohli struck a good fifty, both of them played with a strike-rate of under 100 and that cost the team precious runs. Rishabh Pant’s brutal 40-ball 77 was what really pushed India towards a big total.
India’s bowling was mediocre and barring Bhuvneshwar Kumar, none of the others could make an impact. What’s concerning is that their two spinners - Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya – were hammered with disdain and this could be a serious issue in the decider.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav/ Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna
Krunal Pandya, Lokesh Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan, Prasidh Krishna, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, SN Thakur
Chasing down 337 with 6.3 overs is something quite remarkable. But that’s what this England side is capable of. They were not bothered by the seemingly daunting target and the top-order made a mockery of it by displaying an aggressive brand of cricket that England is known for these days. Jason Roy (55 off 52 balls), Jonny Bairstow (124 off 112 balls), and Ben Stokes (99 off 52 balls) combined to make quick work of the target and help England level the series. The awesome power in this batting lineup is scary, given that they have Jos Buttler, Liam Livingstone, and Moeen Ali in the middle and lower order as well.
England’s bowling wasn’t too bad on a flat deck. Tom Curran and Stokes were expensive. However, Sam Curran and Reece Topley, in particular, were really smart and didn’t allow the Indian batsmen to go berserk in the last 10 overs. Moeen Ali, too, (0-47 in 10 overs) delivered a miserly spell. There’s enough variety in this bowling unit to keep the Indian batting under check in the last match.
Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Dawid Malan, Jos Buttler (c & wk), Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley
Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Mark Wood, AU Rashid, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, Dawid Malan
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||26||0 mm.||0.98 k/h||From: NNW||1%|
|03h||29||0 mm.||1.79 k/h||From: NE||2%|
|06h||35||0 mm.||3.59 k/h||From: ENE||5%|
|09h||38||0 mm.||2.64 k/h||From: NE||48%|
|12h||37||0 mm.||2.84 k/h||From: WNW||68%|
|15h||30||0 mm.||3.22 k/h||From: W||49%|
|18h||27||0 mm.||2.77 k/h||From: WSW||28%|
|21h||26||0 mm.||2.45 k/h||From: W||12%|
The pitch at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune, is clearly in favor of the batsmen. In the first innings, seamers and slower bowlers do get some purchase but as the pitch softens up a little, it becomes much easier for batting. In the second half, batting is even easier as the ball comes on nicely to the bat and there’s hardly any movement for the bowlers.
The weather in Pune on Sunday will be hazy and warm.
In the two ODIs played at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in this series, we have already seen three totals in excess of 300. Expect another high-scoring encounter in the last ODI. If England bats first, they might even get 375-400 runs. Any total of around 350 runs by the team batting first is almost necessary on this wicket.
The team winning the toss will look to chase first as batting second in this venue is clearly a much easier task.
India and England have been engaged in a fierce battle in this limited-overs series. India won the T20I series and started the ODI one in style. However, England have shown that their batting might and aggressive mode of operation will win them more matches than losing them. On such flat tracks, they will always have the edge and after the way they won the last ODI, they begin as favorites for the decider. India, with their conservative approach to ODI batting, might win if they bowl extraordinarily well. But that looks unlikely at the moment.
Expect England to win the final ODI.