March 24, 2021

Kohli hails emotion-charged win in opening ODI

March 24:2021: India romped to a 66-run win with debutant Krunal Pandya overcome with emotion about his late father's passing after setting a new record for the fastest fifty.

Prasidh Krishna has become the first India bowler to take four wickets on his one-day international debut while fellow debutant Krunal Pandya choked back tears while hitting a whirlwind fifty as the hosts defeated England by 66 runs in the first game of the three-match series.

Tuesday's victory left home captain Virat Kohli in raptures. "One of our sweetest victories in the recent past," he said.

"We haven't won many good games in ODIs. I am a really proud man right now, the team showed great character and intensity."

England, chasing 318 to win, made an outstanding start when Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy put on 135 for the first wicket from just 86 balls.

But India then showcased their fast-bowling strength in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami.

Krishna took 4-54, Shardul Thakur picked up 3-37 and Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed 2-30 as the tourists were bowled out for 251 in 42.1 overs, losing all 10 wickets for 116 runs

A late onslaught by Krunal Pandya – his 58 not out off 31 was the fastest ODI fifty by a debutant – had earlier propelled India to 5-317 after Shikhar Dhawan narrowly missed out on his 18th ODI hundred.

Dhawan, who made 98 off 106 balls, and Kohli shared a 105-run second-wicket stand before India lost four wickets for 36 runs.

Dhawan batted for three hours, hitting 11 fours and two sixes, but just when he looked set for a century he offered a tame catch while attempting a pull shot.

Krunal dedicated his record-breaking knock against England to his late father who died of a cardiac arrest in January.

Making his ODI debut with his brother Hardik also in the side on Tuesday, Krunal came in at 5-205 with India struggling a little and raced to a 26-ball fifty, stitching together a 112-run partnership with KL Rahul to give India a commanding total of 317 in 50 overs.

Krunal, who raised his bat to the heavens when he reached his fifty, finished the innings with an unbeaten 58 which included seven boundaries and two sixes.

The allrounder who turns 30 today broke down when he was interviewed during the innings break but his younger brother Hardik, who handed him his first cap before the game, was on hand to console him.

"Papa would be proud. He's smiling down on you brother and sent an early birthday gift for you," Hardik said.

"You deserve the world and more. I couldn't be happier for you brother."

Kohli, who had earlier lost the toss, scored a steady 56 while Lokesh Rahul returned to form with an unbeaten 62 as he put on 112 in 57 balls with Pandya.

England seemed to be in control with India on 5-205 after 40 overs but Pandya and Rahul cut loose with some powerful drives and pull shots.

Bairstow and Roy made a flying start to England's reply before the latter again fell in the 40s when he was caught at backward point.

Number three Ben Stokes, who had earlier taken 3-34 in his first ODIsince his man-of-the-match winning performance in the World Cup final, offered a tame catch in the covers when he was on one.

Captain Eoin Morgan (22), who needed four stitches on the webbing of his right hand after fielding, could have been out first ball but Kohli dropped him in the slips and missed a run-out chance after throwing at the stumps.

Bairstow smashed seven sixes and six fours in a swashbuckling 66-ball 94 before falling when he holed out at deep mid-wicket.

"The two openers were outstanding but we failed to build on that," Morgan said. "We need to execute better than we did today. India did really well and deserved to win."

The second game is at the same venue on Friday followed by the third match on Sunday.


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