India posted a mammoth total of 336/6 in the 2nd ODI against England. But the Jos Buttler-led England chased down the target in the 44th over, finishing the chase with six wickets in hand. The ease with which England went about their business in the chase has led to questions being raised on India’s slow start in the game with the bat.
While the likes of Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya were quite effective in the death overs, adding 126 runs in the final 10, India were quite slow at the start and in the middle overs, when KL Rahul and skipper Virat Kohli were in the middle.
The duo set up the platform for the heavy-hitters to do the job towards the end, but former England captain Nasser Hussain points out a problem with this approach.
Hussain wrote: “India, with two of the greatest white-ball batters there have ever been in their top three — Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli — try to bat normally through the first powerplay.
“It’s not as if they are slouches when it comes to strike rates, but they take their time and soak up pressure. It’s old-fashioned, 50-over cricket from five years ago. It’s almost as if they are playing a 30-over game initially in which they are intent on keeping wickets in hand, followed by a Twenty20 innings,” Hussain added.
Hussain explained the differences in approach between the two teams in batting.
“Both these teams have very watchable batting line-ups, but there is an intriguing difference between them. While India play to get a par score most times, England look to go above par every time. They (India) see the game so differently. In contrast, England’s approach is to see each of those allotted 50 overs as an opportunity to score,” he wrote.
The former England batsman explained the problem with India’s slow starts and said that it leaves Virat Kohli’s side only getting to a par total.
“On Friday, they were only two wickets down when they hit that final 20, and they know they have Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya in their middle order, who can go ballistic during that period. The problem with setting things up in this way for such a big last ten overs — even though India scored 126 — is that it invariably takes them to a par total,” Hussain wrote.
“One of the reasons they still play like this is that they are yet to introduce a hitter into their top order — such as Ishan Kishan or Suryakumar Yadav. Another reason, perhaps, is that they know England are lacking their death bowlers, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes,” Hussain signed off.