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Eng v Ind ODIs : Pant & Hardik show powers India to emphatic win after initial jitters , India win series 2-1 

The answer to why cricket is called a game of uncertainties was seen in the third and decisive ODI between India and England played in Manchester on Sunday.  Chasing the target of 260 runs set by England in this match, India lost four wickets for 72 runs at one point.  However, Hardik Pandya (71) and Rishabh Pant (125 not out) then put on a 133-run partnership for the fifth wicket to give India a thrilling win and a 2-1 series lead.  Pant hit five consecutive fours off David Willey’s over in the 42nd over to give the team victory.

 England lost the toss and batted first to score 259 runs in 45.5 overs, while India overcame the initial shock and achieved the target by losing 5 wickets in 42.1 overs.  This is England’s third ODI series loss at home since 2015.  The interesting aspect is that in all the three series the deciding match was played in Manchester.

 Chasing a target of 260 runs from England, the Indian team lost the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan (1) caught at cover , skipper Rohit Sharma (17) caught in slips , Virat Kohli (17) caught behind and Suryakumar Yadav (16) caught behind for 72 runs.  Topley caused the initial damage with 3 top order wickets . However, after this, Pandya and Pant played carefully and completed their respective half-centuries and put on a partnership of 133 runs off 115 balls for the fifth wicket.  Hardik scored the eighth fifty of his ODI career while Pant scored the sixth half-century.  Hardik also took four wickets in bowling.  Along with this, he became the first Indian player to score a half-century in addition to taking four wickets in all formats.

Gradually after stabilizing the innings both Hardik and Pant started to change gears with brilliant array of crisp shots all around the ground , there were several fine off drives , flicks , pulls etc 

image credits ICC

 Hardik was dismissed as the fifth batsman for the team’s score of 205.  He scored 71 runs off 55 balls with 10 fours.  After his dismissal, Pant added 56 runs for the sixth wicket with Ravindra Jadeja (7 not out) with brilliant array of shots  to give India a 5-wicket win and the series.  Pant scored the first ODI  century of his career.  Earlier, he was given a lifeline by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler on a personal score of 18 when a stumping was missed .

 Pant completed his century off 106 balls with 10 fours and two sixes.  Pant became the fourth Indian wicket-keeper batsman to score a century in ODIs.  He scored an unbeaten century of 125 runs off 113 balls with 16 fours and two sixes in the match. Towards the end he plundered 20 runs in one David Willey over including few glorious pull shots.   Rishabh Pant, who scored his maiden ODI century, was named Player of the Match.

 Earlier, England overcame the initial shock of losing Bairstow and Root cheaply to Siraj early and scored 259 runs in 45.5 overs.  Captain Jos Buttler top scored for the hosts with 60 full of glorious shots , Jason Roy 41, Moeen Ali 34, Craig Overton 32 and Ben Stokes and Liam Livingstone 27 each all played scintillating shots but none of the batters tried to stay for longer periods which resulted in England getting allout with still 24 balls to bowl in the innings .  Hardik took the maximum four wickets for India.  Apart from him, Yuzvendra Chahal took three wickets and Mohammad Siraj took two wickets while Ravindra Jadeja took one wicket.

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