Opener Jonny Bairstow and all-rounder Ben Stokes proved why the England cricket team are world champions in the 50-over format with an excellent performance in the second ODI of the series against India.
Team India Skipper Virat Kohli lost the toss yet again at the MCA Stadium in Pune as stand-in English skipper Jos Buttler invited the hosts to bat first. KL Rahul's ton and half-centuries from Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli guided the Men in Blue to 336/6 in their 50 overs.
Chasing 337, England got off to a magnificent start thanks to Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow's 116-run opening stand. Ben Stokes then destroyed the Indian bowlers with a 52-ball 99 to turn the game in England's favor. Dawid Malan and debutant Liam Livingstone completed the formalities to help England level the 3-match series.
Brief Scores: India 336/6 (KL Rahul 108, Rishabh Pant 77; Reece Topley 2/50, Tom Curran 2/83) lost to England 337/4 (Jonny Bairstow 124, Ben Stokes 99; Prasidh Krishna 2/58, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/63) by six wickets.
As mentioned earlier, Team India got an opportunity to bat first in the second one-dayer of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League series against England. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan could not provide an excellent start to the team. While Sharma lost his wicket after touching the 25-run mark, Dhawan departed to the pavilion with only four runs to his name.
Skipper Virat Kohli then stabilized the innings with number four batsman KL Rahul. The duo stitched a 121-run third-wicket partnership and laid a platform for the finishers to take the score past 300. Rishabh Pant then contributed a 40-ball 77, while Hardik Pandya chipped in with a 16-ball 35 to ensure India breached the 335-run mark.
Pant and Pandya preferred to deal in maximums, as the Indian duo smashed 11 sixes and four fours to boost the team's run rate. Reece Topley was the most successful bowler for the visitors, with figures of 2/50 in eight overs.
The Jonny Bairstow-Ben Stokes show in Pune
Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy made their intentions clear right from the word 'go.' Like the first ODI, the two English openers provided a magnificent start for the visitors.
Roy was run out for 55 in the 17th over, but that did not deter England's momentum. Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes launched an all-out assault on the Indian bowlers. They targeted the spin bowlers in particular, and aggregated 156 runs off the 16 overs bowled by Krunal Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar denied Stokes a well-deserved hundred and Prasidh Krishna dismissed Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler in quick succession soon after. It appeared as though Team India could bounce back into the contest, but Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone ensured England won the game with six wickets and 6.3 overs to spare.