BENGALURU: Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya stepped up and put up a spectacular all-round show to steer India to a five-wicket victory in the 3rd ODI at Old Trafford. With this victory, the visitors have also won the three-match series 2-1.
The exuberant all-rounder grabbed four wickets to restrict England to 259 and then walloped 71 off just 55 balls to help his team defeat the hosts in the decider. The Indian wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant also played a huge role by bludgeoning his maiden ODI ton and cobbling up a 133-run alliance with Hardik for the fifth wicket. He remained unbeaten at 125 off 113 balls.
India’s top-order was once again demolished by the left-arm seamer Reece Topley who snared Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the first 10 overs and reduced India to 38-3. Soon, Suryakumar Yadav also fell for 16 to Craig Overton.
While Hardik looked in glittering form right from the word go, Pant was slightly edgy for the first few overs. Hardik shored up India’s innings by unfurling a slew of boundaries. He whipped out a couple of pulls against Brydon Carse to clock up boundaries and then took the attack to Topley as well. His straight drive in the 27th over was the best of the lot. His half-century came off 43 balls in the 30th over.
After looking out of sorts for the first few balls, Pant also began to grow in confidence. He was happy to filch singles and doubles and give strike to the in-form Pandya. The left-hander reached his fifty off 71 balls in the 31st over by clubbing Ben Stokes for a four over his head.
After reaching his fifty, Pant went on the rampage and whacked the next 50 runs off just 35 balls. Even after Hardik fell for 71, he remained unruffled and kept flaying England’s bowlers. In the 43rd over, he unfurled a cracking reverse-sweep off Joe Root as India chased down the target of 260.
Earlier, the England opener Jason Roy cracked the first ball of the match, bowled by Mohammed Shami, for a straight four after Indian skipper Rohit opted to bowl. In the same over, the right-hander clocked up two more boundaries by clipping the seamer through the leg-side. However, Mohammed Siraj negated the seemingly breezy start by dismissing Jonny Bairstow and Root for ducks in the second over.
Bairstow tried to flick the ball but was outwitted by the late movement as the leading edge was neatly taken by the fielder. Root was flummoxed by the ball which bounced sharply and nipped away. The outside edge was grabbed by Rohit at the second slip.
Roy continued to bat in an uninhibited manner as he blasted a string of boundaries but he failed to conjure up a big innings. Hardik prised him out for 41 as he tried to execute a pull but was caught by the wicket-keeper Pant.
In his next over, Hardik showed appreciable gumption as he darted in a short-ball when Ben Stokes came down the track and got himself into a tangle. The ball went up in the air and the bowler completed a simple catch.
Moeen Ali and England skipper Jos Buttler joined forces when England were reeling at 74-4. Both of them focused on rebuilding the innings and pinched singles early in their innings. Later, Ali accumulated a few quick runs as he smacked Siraj and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal for sixes. Both of them stitched up a 75-run stand for the 5th wicket before Ali was caught by Pant off Ravindra Jadeja in the 28th over as the left-hander attempted a paddle-sweep in vain.
Buttler reached his fifty in the 32nd over as he drove Jadeja through the covers for a single. But soon after his innings was curtailed by a sensational catch by Jadeja off Hardik in the 37th over. The right-hander scored 60 off 80 balls. In the same over, Hardik also dismissed Liam Livingstone for 27 as England slumped to 199-7.
Craig Overton reeled off 33-ball 32 in death overs but the hosts were dismissed for 259 in 45.5 overs.