India took on England in the 1st ODI at the MCA stadium in Pune. A match that broke quite a few records.It was a tough first day for Virat Kohli for sure. The problem that India has had for so long,their death bowling was again under average. Ashwin didn’t seem to be at his best and Bumrah not having a good day. A big target was always calling. Whacked every bowler and made sure that England get to 350. The target that was expected to be around 320-330 was now 351.
Chasing 351 out came the Indian openers. India had chased 350 twice before yesterday and Virat had scored a century in both those matches. All eyes were on Kohli. It wasn’t the best way to start for India though as we lost our openers cheaply. Just when Yuvraj showed a glimpse of what he used to be before throwing his wicket away. Out came Dhoni, the moment everyone was waiting for.. Everyone just wanted him to score runs, he was expected to play his natural game. He did start of with a boundary but did not last too long. The aggressive approach cost him his wicket, his innings only lasted for 6 balls but he showed that he was not there to play the waiting game. Had he been the captain, I think his approach to the game would have been a bit different.
We always knew that till the time Virat is on the crease, India is still in the game. You just don’t rule out Virat Kohli in a run chase. This guy is frighteningly good. He had to take more risk to make sure India are within their reach of their target. Yet again Virat planned his innings to precision and smashed another century. 27th century in total, 17th in a run chase, 15th in successful run chase and equaling Sachin’s record in the process. Virat was not able to get India over the line but made sure India reach closer to their target.
GAME CHANGER : KEDAR JADHAV
On the other hand, the man whole stole the show was Kedar Jadhav. You don’t overshadow Virat Kohli in a run chase, and Kedar Jadhav just exactly did that. The 31 year old Jadhav just playing his 16th ODI smashed a swashbuckling century 120(76). The small boundaries, the dew factor added to his good spin playing ability. The struggle that he has come through all these years and now he had the opportunity and he utilized it to its best. Jadhav suffered from cramps in the middle of his innings yet he gave his best and kept hitting the bowlers all over the park.
A special mention for Pandya who bowled quite well taking 46/2 in his 9 overs spell and then contributing lower down the order with and important 40(37)*. Though he isn’t most reliable, he is still young and India need to groom him well and make sure we get the best out of him. Remember the criticism Jadeja used to get when he broke in? Now he is the integral part of the team. Hardin would be an important prospect once India start touring abroad.
After this run chase, India have now scored the most 350+ scores, chased the most 350+ scores and is the only team to score 350 on most occasions.
A few positives for India to look upto with the emergence of Kedar and Hardik. Yet we need to improve our death bowling and put less pressure on our batsman.