A magnificent and emotional ODI debut from all-rounder Krunal Pandya helped India beat England by 66 runs in the first of three ODIs in Pune on Tuesday.
England looked to have taken control of the match – initially when India squandered the platform laid by Shikhar Dhawan (98) and stumbled to 202/5, before Jonny Bairstow (94) and Jason Roy (46) tore after the eventual target of 317/5 with a 135-run opening stand inside 15 overs.
But Krunal clattered an unbeaten 58 form 31 deliveries, featuring seven fours and two sixes, as he and KL Rahul climbed into some sub-par death bowling from England. Then, the visitors were eventually dismissed for 251 in 42.1 overs as India fought back with bowlers.
In a curtailed mid-innings interview following his knock, Krunal broke down in tears as he dedicated the knock to his father, who passed away in January.
After the match, his younger brother Hardik shared an emotional message. "Papa would be proud. He's smiling down on you bhai and sent an early birthday gift for you. You deserve the world and more. I couldn’t be happier for you bhai. This one is for you Papa," the 27-year-old wrote.
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Krunal, 30, in a Twitter post wrote: "Papa, with every ball you were always on my mind and in my heart. Tears rolled down my face as I felt your presence with me. Thank you for being my strength, for being the biggest support I've had. I hope I made you proud. This is for you Papa, everything we do is for you Papa".
Papa, with every ball you were always on my mind and in my heart. Tears rolled down my face as I felt your presence with me. Thank you for being my strength, for being the biggest support I’ve had. I hope I made you proud. This is for you Papa, everything we do is for you Papa âÂÂÂÂ¤ï¸ÂÂÂÂ pic.twitter.com/djQWaytETG— Krunal Pandya (@krunalpandya24) March 23, 2021
Cricketers' father, Himanshu, passed away due to a cardiac arrest on January 16.
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