It is the first match of the three-match ODI series and it will be played at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on 23rd March, 2021. The match will commence at 1:30 PM IST and it will be telecasted on the Stars Sports and stream live on Hotstar.
The India-England caravan moves to it’s the last leg in Pune where the two sides square off for a three-match ODI series. It’s been India all the way so far on this tour. They were behind in both the Test and the T20I series but they fought back hard to win the rubbers 3-1 and 3-2 respectively.
This ODI series may seem pretty out of context, considering the World Test Championship (WTC) Final and the T20 World Cup later this year but this series is a part of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League as well.
While the ODI Super League is irrelevant for India as they are the hosts for the 2023 Cricket World Cup, England haven’t had a great start to it. England have played two series with three games each and have won three games and have lost three as well. Ireland beat them in the third ODI before they lost to Australia 1-2 at home back in August last year. Meanwhile, even though India aren’t competing for a spot in the Super League, they did lose their first two games against Australia before winning the third one.
India have named a pretty strong ODI squad as well and are really spoilt for choice once again. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will be back as a pair in the 50-over format. They’ve been superb for the ‘Men in Blue’ for a long time now. Skipper Virat Kohli will slot in at No. 3. Now, Shreyas Iyer is the incumbent No. 4 but he will face stiff competition from Suryakumar Yadav who was superb in the T20I series and received massive praise from the skipper.
Meanwhile, KL Rahul has been India’s first-choice wicket-keeper in ODIs over the last year or so but he has been in torrid form. Moreover, Rishabh Pant is back in the squad and has been batting well. Hardik Pandya is likely to slot in at No. 6 and India may not want to up his workload by having him as one of the five bowlers only. Thus, Washington Sundar or Krunal Pandya might be the all-rounder at No. 7. Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T Natarajan will combine to form the pace attack and one of Kuldeep Yadav or Yuzvendra Chahal will be the lead spinner.
On the other hand, England will be without a couple of their first-choice ODI players. Joe Root returned home after the Test series while Jofra Archer is struggling with an elbow injury which rules him out of the entire series. But they have Ben Stokes returning to the 50-over format for the first time since that stupendous 2019 World Cup Final. He might just have the opportunity to bat at No. 3 in the absence of Root if England decide to play Sam Billings in the middle-order.
Jonny Bairstow will move back to the top of the order in 50-over cricket and will open alongside Jason Roy. Skipper Eoin Morgan will slot in at No. 4. Sam Billings and Jos Buttler are likely to come in at No. 5 and 6. Moeen Ali might finally get a game and will be the all-rounder in the absence of Chris Woakes. Mark Wood will lead the pace attack and is likely to have left-arm seamer Reece Topley for company. One of the Curran brothers (Sam or Tom) will be the third pacer with Adil Rashid as the frontline spinner.
Probable Playing XIs
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya/Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal/Kuldeep Yadav, T Natarajan
England: Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran/Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley, Mark Wood
Virat Kohli: Virat Kohli is a different kind of beast in ODI cricket. The Indian skipper averages a stunning 59.31 in the 50-over format and has 43 hundreds. However, he hasn’t got a three-figure score in international cricket since November 2019. He has come close on a few occasions but just hasn’t been able to convert that start. In fact, even in Australia, Kohli had scores of 21, 89 and 63 in the ODI series. In addition to this, he has been batting well and struck three half-centuries in the T20I series. Thus, he will be a top captaincy choice.
Jonny Bairstow: Jonny Bairstow is a solid player at the top of the order and he has been one of the big reasons why England have been successful in ODI cricket in the last few years. Bairstow averages 47.16 and has a strike-rate of 103.71 in ODI cricket. He has done well since the lockdown and has aggregated 284 runs at an average of 47.33 in six ODIs. The England opener has the ability to get the big scores and can be backed as fantasy captain.
Fan2Play Fantasy Cricket Tips
Virat Kohli, Ben Stokes
Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Mark Wood
Rohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jason Roy, Adil Rashid
Jos Buttler, Virat Kohli, Jonny Bairstow, Rohit Sharma, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Hardik Pandya, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur.
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