India completed a clean sweep over England after winning their 3rd and final ODI by seven runs. The game looked buried when the hosts had reduced Jos Buttler’s men to 4/95 in 15 overs, but little did they know what was to follow.
While England’s openers failed on the judgement day, Sam Curran gave India a scare by scoring an 83-ball 95, which is not only his personal best ODI score but is also the joint-highest score by a number 8 batsman and highest by a number 8 batsman against India. The all-rounder brought England right on the cusp of victory, but a few misses here and there resulted in England’s defeat.
India, who were put in to bat first for the third time in the ODI series, rode on the batting brilliance of Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya, who all scored half-centuries to take India’s total to 329. England, on their part, started off really well, with Jason Roy scoring back-to-back boundaries off Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s over, but the seamer gave India a major breakthrough in the first over itself.
“It was tense, being a bowler you are always under pressure,” said Bhuvneshwar, who picked three for 42 in 10 overs, after the game.
“There was dew and some tension in the ground. I wasn't worried about the early boundaries. Inswing was the plan for me and that worked. Definitely, looking forward to the Indian T20 League. I'm just happy I went through this entire series.”
England went on to lose wickets at will and never really looked close to achieving the target. All that, however, changed when Sam Curran got England close to victory. The England all-rounder was adjudged as the Man of the Match, but the Indian cricket team captain, Virat Kohli, believed there were other deserving candidates too; like Bhuvneshwar himself and Shardul Thakur, who earlier scored an important 21-ball 30 and picked four crucial wickets.
"Sam played well, but we kept taking wickets to put enough pressure on them," said Kohli during the post-match presentation. "The mindset shifted in the last couple of overs. Hardik (Pandya) and Nattu (T. Natarajan) were brilliant to finish it off."
"I'm surprised that he (Shardul) wasn't the Man of the Match. Four wickets and scoring 30 runs and Bhuvi another contender for Man of the Series. These guys were the difference in middle overs and powerplay. Prasidh and Krunal were impressive, but the most pleasing thing is the depth of our batting."
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Punit Paranjpe