India were in desperate need for a 6th bowling option in the 2nd ODI when they were defending 336 as Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow were taking spinners Krunal Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav to the cleaners. The two spinners gave away more than 150 runs in 16 overs between them but India did not use Hardik Pandya’s services despite picking him in the playing XI.
There was no place to hide for the two spinners as Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow hit 17 sixes between them in a match-winning 175-run stand that took the game away from India. England gunned down the 337-run target with 39 balls and 6 wickets to spare on Friday.
Only Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Prasidh Krishna entered the wickets column for India as England made light work of the target after a big-hitting display of the highest order.
It was surprising to see Hardik not getting a bowl as he had begun bowling in the T20I series after recovering from multiple injury setbacks. In fact, Hardik played a key role with the ball in India’s 3-2 win in T20Is, bowling 17 overs and conceding at less than 6.50.
Shedding light on India’s decision to not use Hardik as the extra bowling option despite their other bowlers going for runs, Virat Kohli said it was more about workload management for the all-rounder in the T20 World Cup and World Test Championship final year.
“We need to manage his body. Need to understand where we need his (Hardik’s) skill set. We did utilise him in the T20Is but in the ODIs, it’s about managing his workload. We have Test cricket in England coming up too. So it’s important for us to have him fit,” Kohli after India’s 6-wicket defeat.
Kohli credited the two England batsman, saying the onslaught from Stokes and Bairstow is one of the best he has witnessed in recent times.
“We did falter a bit at times but mostly, that was some of the best hitting that you’ll ever see. We never had a chance during their partnership, that’s how good they were. Tonight was a case of lack of execution at certain stages but they didn’t give us anything. It’s rare to play at such a high strike-rate and not give any chances,” Kohli added.
It was tough to see Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya leaking runs without any sort of control. While Kuldeep finished with figures of 0 for 84 in 10 overs, Krunal gave away 72 runs in just 6 overs.