India vs Australia has a long-standing cricket rivalry that has spanned over several decades.
The two teams have played each other in various formats of the game, including Test matches, One Day Internationals (ODIs), and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).
India 201 for 4 beat Australia 199 all out by six wickets
The commencement of the 2023 World Cup witnessed a dynamic display of skill and competition.
Although India’s triumph over Australia appears clinical on the scoresheet, the actual gameplay in Chennai was a riveting encounter laced with uncertainty.
Ravindra Jadeja’s exceptional bowling, securing figures of 3 for 28, limited Australia to a total of 199.
However, India’s pursuit of this modest target embarked on an unprecedentedly turbulent journey.
With a historic falter, India found themselves at 2 for 3, a rare occurrence in ODIs where three of their top four batsmen were dismissed without contributing to the scoreboard.
Mitchell Starc claimed Ishan Kishan for a first-ball duck, and Josh Hazlewood’s double-wicket maiden further rattled India, dismissing captain Rohit Sharma lbw and Shreyas Iyer caught at short cover.
India vs Australia Highlights
Yet, from the ashes of adversity emerged Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, two of India’s seasoned cricket maestros.
Their remarkable partnership of 165 transformed what seemed like a challenging start into a seamless victory. Kohli, who fell for 85 (having been dropped on 12), set the stage for Rahul to potentially secure his seventh ODI century.
Positioned at 91 not out with only five runs required, Rahul had a shot at the milestone. However, an unfortunate outcome ensued as his lofted drive off Pat Cummins sailed beyond the boundary sponge at extra cover, concluding the match and leaving Rahul disheartened on 97 not out.
The one-sided nature of the match’s conclusion was particularly humbling for Australia. Cummins’ decision to bat after winning the toss appeared optimistic, especially as the second innings unfolded, and the ball lost its earlier chatter.
Hazlewood’s commendable 3 for 38 emerged as a solitary positive for Australia in the latter part of the game.
Nevertheless, the post-match analysis is likely to revolve around Australia’s struggle to counter the spin and strategic prowess of Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, and R Ashwin.
India’s spin maestros orchestrated a formidable performance, collectively claiming six wickets and imposing an unyielding grip on Australia, as reflected in the staggering 16.5 overs of dot balls in their combined 30-over spell.
The pivotal control wielded over Australia’s innings was spearheaded by Jadeja, who entered the fray in the 20th over.
Despite Australia’s initial stability, Jadeja’s masterful display during his eight-over spell of 3 for 38, particularly on his home turf for Chennai Super Kings, dismantled their foundations.
The early loss of opener Mitchell Marsh, dismissed for a six-ball duck by Jasprit Bumrah, caught skillfully by Kohli at first slip, did little to deter David Warner.
Warner, in his characteristically breezy style, surpassed 1000 ODI World Cup runs in just his 19th innings, achieving this milestone in one knock fewer than cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and AB de Villiers.
Kuldeep’s well-executed return catch marked the end of Warner’s innings at 41, and a subsequent partnership of 69 with Steven Smith came to an end as Smith lost his off stump at 46.
This triggered a sequence of three wickets falling in the span of 10 deliveries by Jadeja.
Marnus Labuschagne’s dismissal, caught behind off a sweep, and Alex Carey’s lbw adjudication in front of the middle, both failing in their DRS reviews, further compounded Australia’s woes at 119 for 5.
The responsibility now rested on the last two remaining “full-time” batters, Glenn Maxwell and Cameron Green, to forge a substantial partnership.
However, Maxwell’s boundary through extra cover was short-lived, followed by an ill-judged shot across the line to Kuldeep, and Green’s lazy cut to backward point off Ashwin, reducing the score from 140 for 5 to 140 for seven in just four balls.
Starc and Cummins displayed valor in their pursuit of late runs, with Cummins hitting the first six of the innings in the 40th over, followed by Starc’s second over the same region off Bumrah.
Starc, eventually the last wicket to fall, holed out into the leg side, concluding the innings with three balls to spare.
However, within four balls of the restart, the left-arm quick struck again, dismissing Kishan for a first-ball duck with a slash to Green at first slip.
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Hazlewood’s early onslaught, securing a double-wicket maiden in his opening over, instantly painted a challenging picture for India.
However, the relatively modest target of 197 in 48 overs, as Kohli and Rahul joined forces, meant that India could approach the task without resorting to unnecessary risks.
In the early stages, India faced a scare when Kohli, on 12, unleashed a top edge off Hazlewood’s skiddy bouncer.
The ball eluded Marsh, running in from square leg, after a moment of miscommunication with Carey behind the stumps. Kohli further survived an edge past his stumps off Cummins when on 13.
Undeterred, Kohli quickly resumed his dominance, showcasing supremacy through midwicket with back-to-back fours off Green.
This marked a resurgence for Kohli, who had managed just his second boundary in 50 deliveries.
The partnership between Kohli and Rahul flourished, with Rahul contributing three fours in an over from Zampa, injecting momentum into his innings.
The delayed introduction of leg-spinner Zampa in the 17th over hinted at Australia’s waning incisiveness due to the loss of early movement with the new balls under lights.
Starc adjusted his angle to over the wicket to both right-handers, seeking movement or a mistake off the straight.
Kohli’s race to the half-century was triumphant, reaching fifty for the 114th time in ODIs off 75 balls. The century stand soon followed, with Rahul achieving his 16th fifty in the format by square-driving his 72nd delivery.
Kohli, eyeing a century, fell 15 runs short when he pulled Hazlewood straight to Labuschagne at midwicket.
Despite his departure, the determined walk-off suggested a desire to lead the team to victory, and with 33 required off 74, the finish line was within sight.
The climax unfolded as Pandya charged Hazlewood, smashing him over wide long off for India’s first six of the tournament.
Rahul continued the onslaught with a second six in the next over, dispatching Maxwell into the stands down the ground.
While a century for Rahul would have been a perfect conclusion to a professional opening win, the substantial contributions, marked by sizable scores and a victory margin of 52 deliveries, served as ample consolation.
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