Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ind Eng ODI 2: Captain Cook Plays Twenty20 Style Spectacular in Shortened Match

Alastair Cook The England ODI captain played a match winning knock in the second India England ODI match
 Ajinkya Rahane is climbing notches on the Indian tour of England in his short time. However, his knock at the Rose Bowl, Southampton in the second India England ODI match was upstaged by the England ODI captain, Alastair Cook, who played a splendid innings in the twenty-three overs a side match for England to lead the India England ODI series by a 1-0 margin after two matches.

Rain kept fans waiting what seemed like an interminable wait. After it seemed that perhaps play was virtually ruled out, it began almost five hours since the proposed start. By then, the rain and wet outfield had eaten significantly into the match to reduce the match from a fifty overs a side match to twenty-three overs a side. A veritable Twenty20 match, it was obvious that team strategies would change with bowlers getting varied bowling quota to bowl.

Opting to field first, Cook appeared to have got his mathematics wrong because James Anderson bowled only three overs in an innings that saw a choice of bowlers that perhaps Cook need not have experimented with. However, from India’s perspective, Parthiv Patel was playing a quickfire knock for twenty-eight while Rahane was showing his repertoire of shots in a half century that is likely to stand him in good stead.

Suresh Raina was also part of the action on the night with his forty runs, slamming three sixes all the way. However, the man hard to ignore besides Rahane was the thirty-eight year old dynamite, Rahul Dravid. His thirty-two runs was a good follow up to his one off Twenty20 experience in the India England Twenty20 match although perhaps not quite as spectacular but just as effective. In the end, although India were once again guilty of losing wickets too often, they did manage a score of 187 off their twenty-three overs, setting England a chase that required eight runs an over.

With the Twenty20 mindset entrenched, it was expected England would follow a similar pattern. Alastair Cook may be the England ODI captain but that came to him after he was overlooked for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. So, for him to show he could play the Twenty20 with equal panache was not going to be easy. But for England, the most exciting aspect was that Cook was the top scorer of the day with eighty runs off only sixty-three balls, guiding England from start to finish to ensure England got the first win in the ODI series.

What really took the game away from India was the fact that their bowlers could not contain the England batsmen who played in murderous vein. Craig Kieswetter set the agenda up very early and Cook complemented in a style that he can call his own. His forty-six runs from thirty-one balls included three sixes that considerably reduced the pressure on England to coast towards victory with Cook providing a steady hand and Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara backing up nicely for England to end the day on a high even as Indian cricket was once again left to ponder on some of their plans and players.


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