In a game that went down to the wire, India emerged victorious as they managed to hold their nerves to eventually get the better of England by seven runs in the third ODI to win the series 2-1. This, Despite a brave 95 not out by Sam Curran, the joint highest score by any No. 8 batsman in ODI cricket.
England were in a trouble at 200/7, chasing 330, but Curran rose to the occasion to take England close to the finish line. He attacked Hardik Pandya, T Natarajan and Prasidh Krishna to put the rival team under pressure. Curran was ably supported by Adil Rashid, who made the most of India’s poor fielding.
However, a brilliant one-handed catch from Virat Kohli in the 40th over to send back Rashid threatened to change the complexion of the game. No. 10 Mark Wood then provided Curran company as England got closer to the target. Curran attacked the loose balls, finding the boundary more often than not. He smashed Natarajan for a six in the 44th over and took Shardul Thakur for two fours and a six in the 47th to get the equation down to 23 off 18 balls.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has looked in excellent form since his return from injury, bowled a tight over as he did not allow the batters to play their strokes freely. The 49th over, by Hardik, saw Thakur and Natarajan drop catches off successive deliveries, but a run out of Wood in the first ball of the 50th over all but closed the curtains on England.
Up front, Bhuvneshwar had been impressive with the ball. He got movement to trouble the top order, and sent back Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy in quick succession. Ben Stokes fell to Natarajan after playing a few good-looking shots. Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone then steadied the ship with a 60-run stand but Thakur dismissed both to increase the pressure.
Earlier in the day, India lost the toss and had to bat first yet again. They were aided by fifties from Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant. India reached the 100-run mark in just the 14th over, with the openers attacking the new ball bowlers. However, Rashid’s entry stalled the run flow. He sent back Rohit with a googly and got Dhawan as well, while Moeen Ali left Indian deeper in trouble as he dismissed Kohli for seven.
Pant, however, displayed his maturity, playing his natural attacking game along with Hardik. They shared a 99-run stand in just over 11 overs to take India to a strong position. At 256/4, even 400 looked possible, but the dismissal of Pant pegged India back. Thakur smashed three sixes but India failed to reach even 330. They lost their last four wickets for only eight runs to be bundled out in 48.2 overs.
India 329 in 48.2 overs (Rishabh Pant 78, Shikhar Dhawan 67, Hardik Pandya 64; Mark Wood 3-34) beat England 322/9 in 50 overs (Sam Curran 95*, Dawid Malan 50; Shardul Thakur 4-67, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-42) by 7 runs. Player of the Match: Sam Curran.
India won the series 2-1. Player of the Series: Jonny Bairstow.
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