Recent Match Report - India vs England 1st ODI 2020/21

Recent Match Report – India vs England 1st ODI 2020/21


Unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 112 in 9.3 overs between Krunal and KL Rahul rescues India

Innings break India 317 for 5 (Dhawan 98, Rahul 62*, Krunal 58*, Kohli 56, Stokes 3-34) vs England

An innings of see-sawing fortunes saw India breach 300 despite Shikhar Dhawan falling for 98 and Virat Kohli’s continued wait to convert an international half-century to three figures. England fought back well with the ball before debutant allrounder Krunal Pandya, with a 26-ball fifty, and KL Rahul provided the late spark to ensure India would post a competitive total.

After being inserted and making a customary steady start, the home side had ground their way into the ascendancy at 169 for 1, with Dhawan and Kohli motoring along ominously during a century stand. But the return of Mark Wood, who had bowled a sharp opening spell, saw Kohli taken on the deep midwicket boundary – making it 42 innings (and 16 fifties) since his last hundred – as England re-established their early stranglehold.

It took a crackling contribution from Krunal at No. 7 to lift India. The elder Pandya brother struck five of his first 14 balls for fours and added a couple of towering sixes for good measure on the way to the fastest fifty (joint) on ODI debut off 26 balls – a milestone he celebrated with a thump of the helmet and a look to the skies. Rahul also brought up a rapid half-century from 39 balls as their 112-run stand for the sixth-wicket stole the momentum.

England were excellent in the field – bar Moeen Ali dropping a straightforward chance in the deep offered by Dhawan on 59 – and the pressure told as India lost 4 for 36 during an eight-over period just as they were looking to press on ahead of the final powerplay. But the death bowling went awry in the face of some explosive hitting.

There was some collateral damage to England’s enthusiasm, too, with Sam Billings led off after hurting his left shoulder attempting to stop a boundary and Eoin Morgan requiring stitches to the webbing of his right hand. The England camp later reported that a “sprained collar bone joint” was unrelated to the shoulder dislocation Billings suffered in 2019, and were hopeful that both players would be available to bat.

Ben Stokes picked up three wickets  Getty Images

Ben Stokes, who was playing his first ODI since the 2019 World Cup final, claimed three wickets including that of Dhawan, who pulled low into the hands of midwicket with his hundred beckoning. Shreyas Iyer had also fallen to Wood attempting to hit over the top, and with Hardik Pandya steering Stokes to slip India were 205 for 5 with 9.3 overs to go, in danger of falling short on a good surface.

India had begun cautiously, the established opening pair of Dhawan and Rohit Sharma settling in for a period of reconnaissance against the new ball. With Wood pushing the speed gun above 90mph/145kph and Sam Curran finding some swing to go with a probing line, only 15 runs came from the opening six overs – a period in which Sharma required treatment after being struck a painful blow on his right elbow by Wood.

Dhawan laced Wood for back-to-back boundaries in the seventh, and Sharma did the same two overs later – forcing his hands out in front to fight the feelings of discomfort. But after a laboured stay, Sharma was the first India wicket to go down as he chased a short, wide ball from Stokes and tickled an edge through to the keeper at the start of the 16th.

England’s six-man attack largely succeeded in keeping a lid on the scoring until nearing the halfway point of the innings; but from a position of 97 for 1 after 23, Dhawan and Kohli suddenly clicked into a higher gear. Dhawan swung Adil Rashid over the deep midwicket rope to raise India’s hundred as well as a 68-ball fifty, and the boundaries began to flow as India added 62 from seven overs.

Rashid should have removed Dhawan when he slapped a half-tracker to deep midwicket, and Ali’s afternoon got worse as his next over went for 15. Kohli raised a run-a-ball half-century at the start of the following over, and India reached 159 for 1 from 30 – a platform that seemed to make 300 a formality, before Morgan called on Wood for a cutting edge and England found a route back into the contest.

Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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