About the Match
What a fantastic exhibition of batting we have had in the first two ODI’s as India and England stretch the limits of the game. Will the third ODI at Kolkata be any different?
Indian fans would have loved the nostalgia of seeing two of their favorite sons turn back time. Yuvraj Singh scored his first ODI century since the 2011 World Cup and Dhoni displayed some of the ferocious hitting that made him the household name he is now.
The fact that the two veterans managed to lead their team to 381 after being 25 for three is truly amazing. India had gone into this series looking to find players for their middle order and it looks like for the time being at least, they have found stable 4,5 and 6 candidates to play.
Even Ravichandran Ashwin bowled much better in this match to pick up three wickets and show that he could adapt to the ODI game as well.
The only issue now left to solve for the Indian team is the opening partnership. Their preferred opener, Rohit Sharma, is recovering from injury and should be back soon but the three players tried in his absence have all failed to make the spot their own.
Both Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul were in decent ODI form leading up to the series. Rahul, who has only played 5 ODI’s so far started off well against Zimbabwe but has failed to get a start against a much stronger England team. His current average of 69.66 should ensure that he gets another couple of chances at least.
Shikhar Dhawan has also failed in the first two matches but has a 78 and 126 against Australia in Australia as his previous two scores before that. The problem for India is that they do not play too many ODI’s before the Champions trophy and so would need to figure out their best opening pair quickly.
Ajinkya Rahane may get a chance at the expense of one of these two openers in the third ODI.
Virat Kohli had a rare failure in the last match and so backing him for some runs this time around could be fruitful. Yuvraj, Dhoni, and Jadhav are all in excellent form and would give India the confidence of chasing down anything.
The bowling again went for a lot of runs with Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah being the main offenders but the addition of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was an excellent choice. He impressed by bowling in all the tough circumstances and would surely be persisted with ahead of Umesh Yadav for quite some time now.
The real star of the bowling though was Ravindra Jadeja. He went for 45 runs in ten overs in a match where over 750 runs were scored. His unwavering line and length make him very dependable and he is our pick to take the most wickets in the last ODI.
The series has been won by India but they will want nothing less than a 3-0 to stamp their authority.
There is not too much more that the English batsmen could have done in the two matches and yet they were beaten pretty comprehensively. The fact that England can actually score more than this should be a scary thought for oppositions all over the world.
Alex Hales has been injured and will no longer play a part in this match with Sam Billings being the likely replacement. Billings opened for England against Bangladesh and has been scoring runs in the Big bash League as well.
He is a top quality player and has scored runs in the warm-up game as well. Back him to score a 50 plus score in this match.
Jason Roy has been playing the part of the enforcer at the top with brilliant consistency. What has differentiated him from the other Indian batsmen though has been the ability to go on and get a big one after getting set.
Roy was completely on top of the bowling when he got out in both the matches. His caution to the winds approach is unlikely to pay off every time though and we don’t think he will score too many runs this time around.
Joe Root is another one of the England batsmen guilty of not playing the big innings. As the pivotal number 3 in the batting lineup, he needs to ensure he is there until the 35th
over to allow the powerful lower order complete freedom.
He relishes playing against India and another 50 plus score from him cannot be ruled out.
England has scored 350 plus scores while batting first and batting second and lost both times. What would they want to do in Kolkata if given the option?
There have been only two ODI’s played in the Eden gardens since October 2011. One of those matches was played against Pakistan in 2013 when India was unable to chase 250 and the other was against Sri Lanka in 2014 when Rohit Sharma scored 264 alone.
It is difficult to know what the Kolkata pitch will be like since it can vary between being extremely flat to being very green as it was in the World t20 against Pakistan. England will have some bitter memories from their last match here, the World t20 finals when Carlos ‘Remember the name’ Braithwaite smashed 4 sixes in the last over to snatch victory from them.
We think this surface will be unlike the other two and a more somber total should be expected. 300 could be a winning total although it is unlikely any of the two teams will settle for that first up.
Chris Woakes has been excellent at the top of the innings, picking early wickets and he would be our pick to be top wicket taker once again.
This could be a tough match for England to win and we think India will romp home 3-0