In a topsy-turvy finale that saw India emerging victorious after a frequent oscillation of momentum in the series decider against England, it was a woeful show in the field by the Indian fielders. As the pressure kept on building towards the end of the game with Sam Curran growing in stature d confidence with every passing ball, the fielders started grassing opportunities left, right and centre that it felt like the dark ages of Indian cricket where victories were hard to come by only because of poor fieldsmanship.
As the two cricketing juggernauts of the world came face to face for the grand finale of the ODI series that was tied at 1-1 after the second ODI where Stokes blew India away with an exemplary blitzkrieg leaving the hosts hung, drawn and quartered, Indian batters dug deep to ensure that there was enough juice on the cards for the bowlers to defend.
Put to bat first, India managed to post a resounding 329 on the cards. Despite a fine start to the innings by Dhawan and Rohit, an avalanche of wickets followed shortly, leaving Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant to do the trick for India. Pant blasted 78 from 62 deliveries while Pandya slammed 64 from 44 balls.
Chasing the monumental total, England was jolted to a rude awakening as Bhuvneshwar Kumar rocked and rolled the opening pair with a couple of screamers. Just as India seemed to be on top of proceedings in the decider, Ben Stokes started to threaten India’s aspirations once again. Batting in a seemingly explosive manner, Stokes was befuddled by another beauty from Bhuvi that saw him attempting a brash shot and the resultant stroke dinked the ball miles into the air only to be comfortably spilt by Hardik Pandya.
With the carnage that was imposed on India in the preceding fixture by Stokes, this miffed opportunity looked extremely menacing to India’s hopes of sealing the series. However, thanks to T Natarajan who outclassed Stokes with the brutal pace that saw Shikhar Dhawan completing a comfortable catch to send the world’s best all-rounder hobbling back to the pavilion.
Just as Shikhar Dhawan completed the catch, Hardik felt redeemed and absolved of the criminal drop that he had six overs back. He literally bowed down to Shikhar Dhawan to express the magnitude of reprieve that the Delhi Capitals opener has granted him. The expression articulated something like a pardon for an offender who had two life sentences in one life. Stokes couldn’t add much to the knock as he was dismissed for 35 from 39 deliveries.
How DC chipped in with their sarcastic taunt at Hardik?
Seeing the obeisance that the younger Pandya sibling paid to Dhawan, they couldn’t resist themselves from gobbling the opportunity of making fun of Hardik in the most benign and yet cruel manner. The DC Twitter handle posted a meme featuring Shikhar Dhawan along with the caption, “You’re welcome, Hardik Pandya #INDvENG”.
As India’s international clashes are over for the moment, it is time for the country to be segregated into eight separate fan bases that will be voicing their support uproariously for their respective IPL franchise. Delhi belled the peal early enough with others gearing up to follow.