India registered their first bilateral ODI series victory Down Under courtesy of a brilliant bowling display by Yuzvendra Chahal and batting performance by former India Captain MS Dhoni, who was ably supported by Kedar Jadhav.
On a slow and sluggish pitch after having won the toss, India Captain Virat Kohli opted to bowl first. This decision soon thrived for the Indian team as Bhuvneshwar Kumar got Alex Carey caught by Kohli at slips. A few overs later, Aaron Finch was declared LBW off Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s masterpiece late-moving delivery. Australia suddenly were reeling at 27/2 inside nine overs.
Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja, however, looked set and played some magnificent shots to lift the Australian score to 100 runs in 23 overs. All this while, the former was dropped twice by keeper Dhoni, who seldom commits this mistake. All was set for Marsh to dominate the Aussie innings with Khawaja being well set at also lady luck favoring him, however, Chahal soon dismissed him by bowling him a wide delivery that led him in getting stumped. Two deliveries later, Usman Khawaja was caught and bowled by Chahal after a soft dismissal led to Khawaja’s departure.
Peter Handscomb was joined by Marcus Stoinis in the middle, and the two were slowly and steadily rebuilding the Australian innings before an unplayable delivery by Chahal forced Stoinis to play to slips cordon where Rohit Sharma caught an easy catch. The Men in Yellow at this point of time were lurching at 123/5 in 29.3 overs.
However, the new man, Glenn Maxwell, opted to attack the Indian bowlers to counter their threats. He hit a number of boundaries as he along with Handscomb took the Kangaroos past the 150-run mark. It was Mohammed Shami who delivered the breakthrough for India as he bowled short deliveries to Maxwell consistently, which eventually led Glenn to pull an uncontrollable shot back at fine leg which was comfortably caught by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Jhye Richardson then stitched on an important 45-runs partnership with Handscomb before he was dismissed by Chahal. Handscomb in the meantime reached to his third ODI fifty before he was adjudged plumb off Chahal’s delivery. This was Chahal’s fifth wicket in the match and second of his ODI career. Adam Zampa and Billy Stanlake were dismissed in successive overs by Chahal and Shami respectively, thus helping the Indians to bundle out Australia for 230 in 48.4 overs. Chahal was the star performer of the innings as he picked up 6/42 in his allotted 10 overs, while Peter Handscomb top-scored for Australia with 58 runs.
India needed just 231 runs in 300 balls to become the first cricketing nation to have defeated Australia at their own back yard in all formats of the game. And for this to happen they needed a solid start by Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. However, the Aussies came all guns blazing and soon Peter Siddle dismissed Rohit Sharma who was caught at slips by Shaun Marsh. Virat Kohli was the next man in and he along with Dhawan stitched a 44 runs partnership to take the Indian total post-55-run mark. Soon Dhawan was dismissed by courtesy of a soft dismissal by Marcus Stoinis who caught and bowled him. As Ambati Rayudu was dropped for this fixture, Dhoni came out to bat at the all-important position of number 4 for India.
The duo of Kohli and Dhoni sluggishly and gradually took the Indian total past the 100-runs mark, however, the required run rate kept in getting higher. Things got even worse when Kohli was dismissed by Jhye Richardson in the 30th over as the Indian score read 113/3 at that crucial juncture. India still needed 118 runs in 120 deliveries as Kedar Jadhav joined Dhoni in the middle.
What was important at that juncture was that India didn’t lose any more wickets while also tick away runs and reach as much closer to the Australian total as possible, and the same was done by Dhoni and Jadhav who kept the required run rate within their reach while also not playing rash shots and handing over their precious wickets to the opponents. The duo brought the game down the wire as India needed 45 runs in 30 balls. This was the time when they exploded onto Peter Siddle and Marcus Stoinis as they comfortably registered the win in the final over with seven wickets to spare.
MS Dhoni top-scored with 87 runs for India remaining not-out and was ably supported by Kedar Jadhav who made 61 remaining knock-out. For his bowling heroics of 6/42, Chahal was handed over the player of the match trophy, while Dhoni was chosen to be the Player of the series for his three fifty-plus innings of 51, 55* and 87*.
India next play New Zealand in a five-match ODI series and three-match T20 series, while Australia takes on the Sri Lankan Lions for a two-match Test Series.
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