The Men in Blue were in trouble in the run chase, but some resilient performances from the middle order bailed the side out.
The tide was swinging two ways, but eventually, India prevailed! When the going got tough in the first innings with Australia looking well set for a big score, our bowlers unleashed a masterful attack to restrict the visitors. Once again, there was a cry for help in the second innings and the Indian middle order did not allow the Aussies to succeed.
Ultimately, KL Rahul bailed the side out with a resilient half-century in the run chase as India defeated Australia by five wickets to go 1-0 up in the series.
Hardik Pandya, who became the 27th captain of the Indian men’s team today, won the toss and chose to bowl first. Mohammed Siraj vindicated his skipper’s decision with an early breakthrough of Travis Head, but Australia were in control with Mitchell Marsh getting on top of the bowlers in the powerplay.
Marsh and Steve Smith added 72 runs for the second wicket, before skipper Pandya took it upon himself to dismiss his opposite number. Marsh continued alongside Marnus Labushagne and was heading towards a hundred, but once he departed, the dominoes fell apart for the visiting side.
Wickets kept tumbling one after the other, with our Titan Mohammad Shami leading the charge. After Kuldeep Yadav outfoxed Labuschagne, Shami picked up three quick wickets of Josh Inglis, Cameron Green and Marcus Stoinis to nullify any possible threat. Ultimately, the visitors lost their last seven wickets in a span of 61 runs and got bowled out for 188.
After the break, Shubman Gill looked in good touch with a few early boundaries but wickets at the other end didn’t help. Mitchell Starc was the tormentor in chief, as India lost four wickets inside 11 overs, including the scalp of the in-form Gill.
Pandya and KL Rahul took it upon themselves to ease the nerves. The duo batted for nine overs together and added a crucial 44-run partnership, where the skipper played the aggressor and smashed some timely boundaries. Although Pandya’s dismissal put the hosts back in trouble, Jadeja and Rahul pulled through.
The duo mixed caution with a hint of aggression, chipping in with singles and doubles every opportunity they got. Rahul completed his 12th ODI half-century and turned out to be the difference between both sides, while Jadeja held fort at the other end with a terrific 45 off 69 deliveries.
The duo completed their 100 runs together for the sixth wicket, shortly before Jadeja hit the winning runs off Starc. Despite some complications, the Men in Blue managed to go 1-0 up in the series and continue their terrific run in white ball cricket this year.
Australia 188 all out in 35.4 overs (Mitchell Marsh 81, Mohammad Shami 3/17) lost to India 191/5 in 39.5 overs (KL Rahul 75*, Ravindra Jadeja 45*)
Player of the Match: Ravindra Jadeja
Image Credit: BCCI