India vs England 2020-21, 3rd ODI: Shardul Thakur's bowling brilliance leads to series win for India
India was involved in an intensive three-match One-Day International series against England. With the series locked 1-1, both sides left no stones unturned to attain success in the final game. However, it was India that came out on top, thanks to its all-round brilliance.
India produced an all-round performance to tame England thrillingly, by seven runs, in the third and final One-Day International at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Sunday. After a contributed batting effort, the pacers, especially Shardul Thakur, ensured that the host did not suffer any hiccups.
England yet again won the toss, as skipper Jos Buttler elected to bowl, while he made a change by bringing in pacer Mark Wood for Reece Topley. Meanwhile, Indian skipper Virat Kohli, too, made a change by replacing chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav with pacer T Natarajan.
The Indian openers were off to a profound start, contributing to a 103-run opening stand. However, after scoring 37, Rohit Sharma departed off spinner Adil Rashid, who knocked him over in the 15th over.
Suddenly, India lost three quick wickets, as fellow opener Dhawan scored his 32nd ODI half-century and departed for 67 to Rashid at 117. Four runs later, Kohli was bowled up for seven by Moeen, while wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul followed him at 157 for the same score after being caught by Moeen off spinner Liam Livingstone.
Nonetheless, Pant and Pandya's pair contributed to a 99-run stand, as the former scored his third ODI 50 before falling for 78 to pacer Sam Curran. Meanwhile, Pandya as well brought up his seventh ODI half-century, while at 276, he departed for 64 after being knocked over by pacer Ben Stokes.
Although the pair of all-rounder Krunal Pandya and Shardul Thakur tried to ensure that India reaches the 350-run mark, it became a distant target, as both were dismissed for 25 and 30, respectively, by Wood. The incoming batsmen could hardly add anything further, as the side was shot out for 329.
For England, seven bowlers were utilised, with Wood attaining the most success, besides being the most economical. He consistently managed to bowl at a pace of above 140kmph, despite being visibly tired in the hot conditions.
As England came out for the chase, it suffered an early setback. Opener Jason Roy departed for 14 in the opening over off seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar after getting off to a fiery start, as he was knocked over.
It was 14 runs later when fellow opener Bairstow fell for a mere single to Bhuvneshwar, who trapped him leg-before in the third over. Stokes and Dawid Malan's pair contributed 40 runs for the third wicket before the former departed for 35 to Natarajan after being caught by Dhawan in the 11th over.
As skipper Buttler walked out into the middle to stabilise things, at 95, he fell for 15 to Thakur, who trapped him leg-before. Nonetheless, it was then followed by a 60-run stand between Malan and Livingstone before the latter fell for 36 to Thakur, caught and bowled in 24th over.
In the process, Malan scored his maiden ODI half-century before falling for 50 to Thakur again after handing a straight one to Rohit at mid-on, as the score read 168/6. A 32-run stand followed between Moeen and Sam Curran, but the former fell for 29 to Bhuvneshwar after being brilliantly caught by Pandya.
Out of nowhere, Curran and Rashid was the pair that pulled off a 57-run stand for the eighth wicket and looked threatening before Thkaur provided another breakthrough, as Kohli brilliantly caught the latter at mid-off for 19 in the 40th over. In the meantime, Curran brought up his maiden ODI 50, thanks to a dropped chance by Pandya.
Curran and Wood surprisingly contributed to a 59-run stand for the ninth wicket, as a couple of dropped chances more allowed them to pull this off to the last over, putting Indians under pressure. Wood was run out for 14in the final over, as a worried Natarajan held his nerves and did not allow Curran to free his arms, with India cruising to a seven-run win.
For the Indians, six bowlers were utilised, with Thakur being the most effective. Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar was the most economical of all and played a crucial part in the win.
Brief scores: India 329 (Dhawan 67, Pant 78, Pandya 64; Wood 3/34) beat England 322/9 (Malan 50, Curran 95; Thakur 4/67) by seven runs