KL Rahul’s unfinished century and astonishing six off the last ball of the match left India and Australia stunned in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 opener in Chennai on Sunday. Chasing a modest target of 200, India was reeling at 2/3 when Rahul and Virat Kohli came together to stitch a mammoth 165-run partnership.
Virat Kohli fell 15 runs short of a century, but KL Rahul continued to bat with authority and brought India to the cusp of victory. With India needing five runs to win off the last ball, Rahul faced Pat Cummins. The Australian pacer bowled a full delivery outside off stump, and Rahul unleashed a majestic lofted extra cover drive that cleared the fence and went all the way for a six.
The shot left everyone speechless, including Rahul himself, who couldn’t believe what he had done. He ended up stranded on 97 not out, but his innings was enough to guide India to a comfortable victory.
Rahul’s unbeaten knock was a testament to his class and form. He has been in sensational form since his comeback to international cricket in Asia Cup 2023, and he continued his rich vein of form in the World Cup opener.
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Earlier in the match, Australia were bowled out for 199 in 49.3 overs, with Ravindra Jadeja starring with the ball with figures of 3/28. India will next lock horns with Afghanistan on Wednesday, October 11 in Delhi, while Australia will face South Africa on Thursday, October 12 in Lucknow.
After the match, KL Rahul said, “Virat said that I should play like Test cricket for a bit. Happy to play this for the team. There was a bit of help for the fast bowlers early on. Towards the end, the dew played a bit of a part for them. It was still two-paced. I think it was a good cricket wicket, that’s what you get in South of India especially in Chennai. (Last shot) I hit it too well. I wanted to get a hundred by going four and six. Hopefully some other time I can get it.”
This quote reflects Rahul’s disappointment at missing out on a century, but also his satisfaction with the team’s victory. He also highlights the importance of his partnership with Kohli, and the importance of the winning six.