Indian cricket team captain, Virat Kohli has admitted that the hosts stood no chance against the match-winning partnership of Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes as the duo charged England to their second-highest chase away from home.
India, who were put into bat by England, posted 336/6 on board, riding on the back of KL Rahul's century followed by half-centuries by captain Kohli and Rishabh Pant. England, as was expected, started the second inning on the front foot, with Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow putting yet another 100-plus runs stand. The visitors, however, took a hit when Roy departed, but as one calamity walked off, another came in.
Combining with Bairstow, Stokes hit the Indian bowlers left, right and centre to turn the course of the match. The duo put on a 175-run stand off just 117 balls. Stokes, in particular, was at his vicious best hitting four boundaries and a whopping 10 sixes. The game saw a total of 34 sixes being hit, and this is the third most number of sixes in an ODI match.
"I think we set quite a decent total on the board," said Kohli in the post-match conference.
"It was going to be challenging if we stayed in the game for long periods. I think we started off really well with the new ball but still, England found a way to get a 100 run partnership. We didn't execute too well but I thought they batted brilliantly tonight. It was some of the most amazing batting you'll see when chasing," he added.
"They totally blew us away during that partnership of Jonny and Ben Stokes. We didn't even have a chance during that partnership. I don't think the dew played any role at all. The ball wasn't difficult to hold. You could say the wicket settles down a bit under lights but that's no excuse. When two of the best teams in the world collide, one of them is going to win convincingly. Last time we came back. This time England didn't give us anything at all. It's quite rare that if you play with that strike rate and give no chances. It shows the quality of batting."
Hardik Pandya was in a brilliant run of form with the ball during the T20I series, but India decided not to use the all-rounder's bowling capabilities in the ODIs. Explaining the decision, Kohli said that the team wants to ensure he doesn't overburden himself during an important year like this.
"We need to manage his body as well going forward," Kohli said about Hardik Pandya. "We need to understand where we need his skillsets with the ball along with his batting. We used him in the T20Is but it's a bit of workload management as well. We want to ensure we have Hardik Pandya fit and strong because he's going to be an important part of the squad."
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Punit Paranjpe