Indian cricketer Krunal Pandya took to Twitter to pay a touching tribute to his father, Himanshu, who had passed away in January this year after his sensational ODI debut helped India beat England by 66 runs in the first ODI of the three-match series at Pune on Tuesday.
Pandya, who got emotional when handed over his ODI cap by brother Hardik, helped India to 317/5 en route to hitting the fastest fifty by a player on ODI debut - off 26 balls. With the ball, he picked up one wicket in his ten overs conceding 59 runs. During the mid-innings break, Pandya could not hold his tears back talking about his knock and why it was for his dad.
“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 Red heart," Pandya wrote on twitter with photos from the match.
Krunal Pandya came in to bat in the 41st over after the fall of Hardik Pandya, with India in the middle of a rut that saw the team lose four wickets in the space of 36 runs during the 1st ODI at Pune. After a solid start by the Indian top-order, England, won had won the toss and opted to field, arrested India’s momentum with some tidy bowling. Senior Pandya though provided India with the second wind as, along with KL Rahul, he put on 112 runs for the sixth wicket en route to his maiden ODI fifty off just 26 balls, making his effort the fastest half-century in terms of balls for a player on his ODI debut.
From 205/5 in 40.3 overs, India raced to 317/5. 112 runs came in the final 10 with no wickets lost. Pandya remained unbeaten on 58 off 31 balls with the help of seven fours and two sixes, while Rahul, in desperate need of runs and having started uncomfortably, ended with 62 off just 43 balls.
At the top, Rohit Sharma made 28 off while Virat Kohli made 56 off 60, but the star of the Indian innings was Shikhar Dhawan, who came agonisingly close to his 18th ODI ton, only to be out for 98.
For England, even though Mark Wood started well and took wickets of Kohli and Shreyas Iyer, he ended with forgettable figures of 10-0-75-2. Ben Stokes was the pick of the bowlers returning 3/34 in his eight overs. The spinners were taken for plenty as Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali’s 12 overs combined was taken for 94 runs. Rashid picked up two wickets.