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India vs Australia: Kohli, Dhoni Guide India's Chase to Level ODI Series

Cricketnext Staff |January 15, 2019, 7:05 PM IST
India vs Australia: Kohli, Dhoni Guide India's Chase to Level ODI Series

At the toss, Virat Kohli mentioned how he and his team like having their backs against the walls as it brought out the best in them. As captain, it was up to him to walk the talk and he did that with some astuteness at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday (January 15). Pursuing a stiff 299-run target Kohli battled two things — the opposition bowlers and oppressive heat - as he slammed a 39th One-Day International century to setup India's run chase.

MS Dhoni (55 in 54) and Dinesh Karthik (25 in 14) then showed tremendous composure to help India to a stupendous six-wicket win and keep the series 1-1 going into the final game in Melbourne.

That Australia reached 298/9 was down to a fabulous seventh ODI ton by Shaun Marsh who silenced his critics with a breathtaking array of strokes. However, Kohli responded in kind to produce one of his better ODI innings with the visitors chasing down the target in 49.2 overs.

The Indian batsmen looked switched on right from the word go unlike Sydney. With not a lot of sideways movement, Shikhar Dhawan looked self-assured while Rohit carried on from where he left at the SCG.

After playing a maiden from Jason Behrendorff in the first over, Rohit took on Jhye Richardson getting off the mark with two glorious fours. Dhawan, after the initial hesitation too found his feet with a trademark cover drive to Behrendorff followed by another slash wide of backward point off Richardson.

Dhawan looked the part on the day timing the ball as good as ever which ultimately proved to be his undoing. Having slammed Behrendorff for a resplendent drive, he went for one shot too many to only sky the lanky pacer straight into the hands of Usman Khawaja for a 28-ball 32.

Kohli, coming in at No.3 took his time to settle but ensured at no stage did the required rate go out of hand. There were the classical on-drives and the backfoot punches on display while Rohit simply chugged along almost nonchalantly.

The duo without taking too many risks added 54 runs for the second wicket before Rohit like Dhawan frittered away a start. Looking to go after Marcus Stoinis, Rohit could only top-edge a slightly short of length delivery to Peter Handscomb at deep midwicket. The opener departed for a fluent 43 in 53 balls.

Ambati Rayudu joined Kohli in the middle but struggled throughout to get going. He fell for a for a 36-ball 24 but by that time Kohli had switched gears. As it normally happens, as soon as Dhoni walked in the influx of the ones and twos increased. The duo rotated the strike magnificently while Kohli soon upped his boundary counter as well.

It did not take long the Indian captain to complete his century with a clip wide of deep midwicket. It was almost a given that he was the man to take the visitors home but for once couldn't keep his head. With the heat getting to him, Kohli flicked a Richardson leg stump delivery but couldn't find the gap and ended up crunching it straight into the waiting hands of Glenn Maxwell at the deep midwicket fence. Kohli finished with 104 in 112 balls, his innings laced with five fours and two sixes.

Still needing 57 to win 38 balls when Kohli fell, Karthik and Dhoni made sure they went about their task with minimum risks. They took the chase to the last over and with the side needing 7 in 6, Dhoni said enough is enough as he brought out the big six off Behrendorff to prove the finisher was not yet finished. While the former Indian captain remained unbeaten on 55, Karthik played an equally important role scoring 25*.

Electing to bat first on a hot and humid day, the Australian openers were kept at bay by the Indian pace duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. There were hardly any freebies on offer and it showed on the scorecard with Australia managing just one boundary in the first six overs which yielded only 18 runs. The pressure was building and something had to give and it did in the form of Aaron Finch's wicket.

The Australian captain was just not able to get going and once again fell to a Bhuvneshwar in-dipper that clattered into his middle stump. His 6 runs took a rather painful 19 deliveries. Shami then struck in the very next over bouncing out Alex Carey for 18 as the hosts slipped to 26/2 after eight overs.

Usman Khwaja and Marsh started building and were in some ways helped by Mohammed Siraj, the debutant, who just couldn't exert the same pressure. Perhaps it was the nerves telling, but the 24-year-old was all over the place. His first four overs in ODIs cost India 34 runs as both batsmen found their feet. The duo carved 56 runs for the third wicket and looked set to take Australia forward when a piece of brilliance in the field ended Khawaja's knock.

The left-hander tapped Kuldeep Yadav to the left of Ravindra Jadeja stationed at backward point. Against most other fielders that would have been an easy run but not to Jadeja. The southpaw swooped to his left, picked up the ball and in one swift motion pinned down the stumps at the non-striker's end to find Khawaja millimeters short of his ground for 21.

Despite losing Khawaja, Marsh remained unfazed and kept rotating the strike while also finding the boundaries at every given interval. He soon reached a 14th ODI fifty to keep his side going on. There were 52 & 54-run stands with Handscomb and Marcus Stoinis respectively but the regular strikes meant Australia couldn't really drive home the advantage.

At 189/5 after 36.4 overs, the hosts were in danger of falling short. That changed when Maxwell walked out to the middle. There was a sudden upsurge in the energy levels despite the sweltering heat and the hosts upped the scoring rate.

Marsh thumped Jajdeja wide of long on and then slashed Kuldeep through backward point to race through the 90s. A quiet push down the ground to long off took him to a seventh ODI hundred and as he removed his helmet to raise his hands up high there was a sense of elation and a bit of relief on his face.

Both batsmen opened soon after as Australia collected 63 runs between overs 42 to 47. At one stage, it seemed certain the visitors would cross the 300-mark but Bhuvneshwar's penultimate over - 48th of the innings - turned things around. The pacer ensured there was no repeat of Sydney as he first deceived Maxwell with a slower that he could only mistime as far as long off and then had Marsh in the very over. The left-hander having batted for 123 balls till the time played a tired looking shot to be only caught at long off by Jadeja. Marsh's 123-ball 131 included 11 fours and three gigantic sixes.

Peter Siddle and Jhye Richardson fell cheaply and it was only down to Nathan Lyon's four and a six off the last two balls that Australia managed to reach 298/9.

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

Pos Team P W L T/NR PTS NRR
1
IND
9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
2
AUS
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
3
ENG
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
4
NZ
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
5
PAK
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
6
SL
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
7
SA
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
8
BAN
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9
WI
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
10
AFG
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more