India vs. England 2nd ODI: Stokes, Bairstow attack blows hosts away in big level series chase

England didn’t ditch it like the opening game, taking advantage of a flying start from Bairstow (124 runs with 112 balls) and Jason Roy (55 runs with 52 deliveries) to shoot the target down in just 43.3 overs with six wickets in hand.

Stokes (99 of 62) played a stunning punch and missed a deserved hundred after a glowing 165 run stand with Bairstow. An unbelievable 87 runs were achieved between the 31st and 35th. Stokes and Bairstow shared 17 sixes.

“We were bitterly disappointed in the first game with the way we played in the chase, but it was pretty clear that we were going out with the same intent as always,” said Stokes after the game. “Great chase, very happy we managed to get over the finish line without any problems, especially when India hit a challenging total,” he added.

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The third and final game is scheduled here on Sunday. India rallied 336 for six courtesy of KL Rahul (108 of 114) and Rishabh Pant (77 of just 40) after England won the litter and fielded again. After Roy was released, Stokes met six for fun, ten total, to make the seemingly daunting task quite enjoyable for visitors.

Bairstow, who also beat his 11th ODI hundred, was not far behind with seven sixs and eleven fours. Aside from pacemakers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Prasidh Krishna, Indian bowlers had no answer to the onslaught of Stokes and Bairstow showing sensational strokes.

The duo was brutal against the Indian spin combination of Kuldeep Yadav (0/84 in 10 overs) and Krunal Pandya (0/72 in 6), who conceded up to 14 sixes. As in the previous game, England self-destructed by losing three quick wickets in the middle, including the Stokes and Bairstow set. But debutant Liam Livingstone (27 not out of 21) and Dawid Malan (16 not out of 23) kept their nerve to get the team home safely.

It was England’s fifth highest chase in ODI cricket. Previously, Rahul, who anchored the innings, had struck seven fours and two sixes on his 114-ball stroke, while Pant looted seven sixes and three boundaries to help the hosts get well past the 300-run mark.

Skipper Virat Kohli (66 of 79) and Rahul laid the foundation for the large sum with their 121-run stand on the third wicket after they were used to hit in the MCA Stadium. Opener Shikhar Dhawan (4) fell cheaply after stealing a Reece Topley delivery to Ben Stokes in the slip. Kohli joined Rohit Sharma (25), who looked into his elements and hit three borders before Topley (2/50).

But in the next round, Curran (1/47) shortened his stay at the crease. Rohit shot a full delivery straight to Adil Rashid with a short fine leg when India slipped to 37/2. Kohli and Rahul kept the scoreboard ticking, with the captain being a bit more aggressive while Rahul played second fiddle at first.

Kohli, who got a “life” at 35 when Buttler dropped an opportunity to be regulated by Adil Rashid, made his 62nd fifty with a single. The duo then completed their 100 run stand-off 119 balls without a fuss.

However, Rashid (1/65) removed Kohli, whose thick outer rim was captured by Buttler, with India at 158/3. Rahul then stepped on the accelerator, relying mainly on traction and propulsion. Rahul, who met his fifth ODI century and Pant, then launched an attack in England. Pant drew Rashid for his first six, his trademark pull-shot, and didn’t look back.

The left-handed Pant beat Stokes in the 41st over six straight sixes and finished his second ODI fifty in 28 balls. After Rahul fell, Pant continued his show with six hits, with Hardik Pandya (35 of 16) joining the fun as India racked up 126 runs in the last 10 overs. This marked the second time India had scored more than 300 points in a row in five ODIs, the other in 2017.

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