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KL Rahul's 108, Rishabh Pant's 77 propel India to 336/6

KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant powered India to 336/6 (Image credits BCCI)
KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant powered India to 336/6 (Image credits BCCI)
Mukul
ANALYST
Modified 26 Mar 2021
Feature

KL Rahul's stylish 108 (114 balls) and Rishabh Pant's scintillating 40-ball 77 powered India to a huge 336/6 in the first innings of the second ODI against England at Pune.

Put in to bat first by England's stand-in skipper Jos Buttler, India got off to a dodgy start after openers Shikhar Dhawan (4 off 17 balls) and Rohit Sharma (25 off 25 balls) were dismissed within the first 10 overs.

While Dhawan failed to combat the swing of Reece Topley and nicked one to Ben Stokes in the slip cordon, Rohit was unlucky after flicking a Sam Curran delivery straight into the hands of Adil Rashid at short fine-leg.

Thereafter, skipper Virat Kohli (66 off 79 balls) and India's number four KL Rahul went about the repair job in a calm manner. The duo were involved in a 121-run association that set the platform for a big total.

Kohli, who was dropped at 35 by wicketkeeper Buttler off the bowling of leg-spinner Adil Rashid (1/65), looked his usual busy self from the start and brought up his fifty in the 27th over.

But just when hopes of a long-awaited century were ignited, Kohli was undone after trying to cut old nemesis Rashid, with Buttler making amends behind the stumps.

Rishabh Pant sets the ball rolling in the company of KL Rahul

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The departure of the Indian skipper brought in the adventurous Rishabh Pant to the crease. With the score reading 158/3 after 32 overs, the left-handed Pant took a few deliveries to get himself in before launching Rashid for a six over deep mid-wicket to get going.

The next few overs saw Rishabh Pant showcase the full range of his shots as the English bowlers felt the full fury of his flashing blade. No matter where the visiting bowlers bowled, Rishabh Pant had an answer to everything.

Ben Stokes was smashed for back-to-back sixes, with a whip over square leg being followed by a flat hit over long on. The Curran brothers (Sam and Tom) weren't spared either as Rishabh Pant sliced and pulled them for some effortless sixes and boundaries.

Bringing up his fifty off just 28 balls, Rishabh Pant smashed seven sixes and three fours before being caught at the boundary rope off Tom Curran for 77.

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At the other end, KL Rahul too played some classic shots and kept pace with Pant, bringing up his fifth ODI century with a single in the 44th over.

Rahul smashed seven fours and two sixes in his 108-run knock before holing out in the deep off Curran senior's bowling.

After the Pant and Rahul show, the finishing touches were provided by Hardik Pandya (35 off 16 balls) in the company of his brother Krunal (12* off 9 balls).

Hardik announced his intentions straight from ball one as he pulled Sam Curran for a six over square-leg. The 27-year-old bludgeoned three more big ones along with a boundary, and ensured India set a strong English batting line-up a huge 337-run target.

After going at about five runs per over for the first 30 overs of the innings, India added a total of 178 runs in the last 18 overs thanks to assaults by Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya.

For England, the impressive Reece Topley and Tom Curran were the pick of the bowlers, finishing with a couple of wickets apiece.

Apart from Moeen Ali, however, all bowlers leaked runs at over six runs per over, with Tom proving to be the most expensive (83 runs off his 10 overs).

Published 26 Mar 2021, 17:55 IST
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