After playing a blitzkrieg knock of 99 off 52, England all-rounder Ben Stokes on Friday said that he decided to take charge on the spinners while letting Jonny Bairstow keep doing his thing in the second ODI against India in Pune at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium. The all-rounder smashed 10 sixes and four fours in his blistering innings. Apart from Stokes, it was opener Jonny Bairstow’s 124 runs that saw England register a six-wicket win. Chasing a mammoth target of 337, the visitors cruised home with 39 balls to spare as they levelled the three-match series 1-1.
If the Indian batsmen stole the show in the afternoon, it was the turn of the English batters under lights to showcase some quality strokeplay.
The foundation of every successful chase is a strong foundation and England had the best possible start as openers Jason Roy and Bairstow scripted a hundred-plus partnership for the first wicket.
“We speak about match-ups in our changing room, I took the decision if the spinners come up, it was my match-up to take the risk and just let Jonny keep doing his thing. He’s in unbelievable form at the moment, you don’t need to be talking too much to him. The amount of runs they (Roy and Bairstow) have scored is obviously amazing. But if you look at the way they have scored, it makes it even better. Their strike-rate is the best in the world in my opinion. Having those two at the top of the order to set the tone is fantastic,” Stokes told host broadcaster Star Sports after the match.
After losing the first ODI due to the attacking approach, Stokes said it is pleasing to see that team didn’t go away from their tactic.
“The most pleasing thing from us as a team is that we didn’t go away from our values as a team. We were bitterly disappointed in the first game with the way we played in the chase, but it was pretty clear that we were going out with the same intent as we always do. Great chase, really happy that we managed to get over the line easily especially when India set a challenging total. It was actually a better wicket than the first game,” he said.
“Over the years, we have set big totals, we have chased big totals. We don’t really fear too much to be honest. We always go out and try to play as positive as we can. From a personal point and the team’s point of view, it was great that were able to go out and express ourselves,” Stokes added.
Dawid Malan and debutant Liam Livingstone stitched an unbeaten 50-run partnership to take the side home. Livingstone scored 27* while Malan returned unbeaten on 16.
The series decider will be played on Sunday.
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