By Praveen Nvs: The massive victory at Kochi in the second one day in the on-going England series came at the right time for the men in blue and will lift their spirits. Team India lost the first ODI narrowly, but put in a dominant show in the second ODI to crush England.
This win, which helped India level the series, will act as a morale booster for the team, which has been under fire for their not-so-impressive performance in the recent months. A loss here would have put India under tremendous pressure of having to win all the next three matches to win the series.
India got into early trouble with both the openers falling cheaply. The failure of the openers has become a familiar story for the Indian fans.
Virat Kohli showed signs of returning to form but fell to a poor shot. It was once again the skipper MS Dhoni, who bailed the team out of trouble with two crucial partnerships, one with Raina and the other with Jadeja and took India to a position of safety.
Dhoni, who was lucky to get a life early on in his innings, first batted slowly when England were on top but later upped the ante in the death overs. He is a batsman who can easily switch gears according to the situation. With his frequent rescue acts, he has become the saviour of Indian team in ODIs!
The biggest positive of the match was undoubtedly Ravindra Jadeja’s outstanding performance.
Questions has been raised about his ability to score quick runs in the death overs and it was good to see him get some runs under his belt. This innings will do a world of good to his confidence. He stunned England with some brilliant shots and his partnership with Dhoni took India to a commanding total.
Jadeja not only batted fluently down the order but also picked up two wickets with his handy left arm spin. He is a live wire on the field too. He is a player with tremendous potential as an all-rounder but needs to convert that into match-winning performances on a consistent basis.
With Kevin Peterson on song, England were going smoothly until young Bhuvaneswar Kumar struck three crucial blows in very quick succession. His brilliant spell killed the contest and turned the match fully in India’s favour. In his short stint at the international level so far, he has been highly impressive. His ability to swing the ball both ways makes him a wicket-taking bowler.
Along with picking wickets regularly, the Indian bowlers also kept a lid on the scoring rate, which doubled the pressure on the batsmen. England was forced to be on the defensive and could never really recover from Bhuvaneswar’s triple-strike. Although Joe Root and Samit Patel offered some resistance, the target was always well beyond reach.
India now has the momentum with them but one can expect the English team to come back hard in the third ODI. The next match at Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s hometown, Ranchi, will be crucial for both the teams to take a lead in the series.