Openers & Pandya help India clinch series
By B Dixit - Sep 24, 2017 4:51 pm
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Rohit-Rahane during the 3rd ODI

India continued their domination in the ongoing Paytm ODI Series against Australia. Having lost the first two ODIs, today’s encounter at Indore was a must-win for the visitors. Australian captain, Steven Smith, had won the toss and chose to bat in the hope of making full use of the batting paradise at Indore.

Australia were bolstered with the return of Aaron Finch in the middle-order. The inclusion of Peter Handscomb in place of Matthew Wade was also done to strengthen the middle order. Australian openers, David Warner and Finch, provided a solid start. When Hardik Pandya bowled Warner (42) in the 14th over, Australia’s score had reached 70.

Captain Smith and Finch stitched a 154-run partnership. Finch (124) completed his eighth ODI century in the process. He is the only batsman from regular-playing nations, who has scored eight centuries and yet hasn’t played Test cricket for his country.

The platform was set for Australia to cross the 350-run mark. Glenn Maxwell was sent in at No. 4 to fulfil the same purpose. However, the Indian bowlers had other plans. Wickets kept on falling at regular intervals. The run-flow was stopped. As a result of which, Australia could only score 59 runs in the last 10 overs. In the allotted 50 overs, they scored 293-6.

In reply, the Indian openers per se Rohit Sharma went all guns blazing right from the start. India has scored 68-0 in 10 overs. In the 13th over, with a six off Ashton Agar, Sharma completed a 42-ball half-century. In the 18th over, with a four off Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ajinkya Rahane completed a run-a-ball half-century.

Australia finally got the wicket which they were desperate for in the 22nd over when Coulter-Nile dismissed Sharma on 71. Rahane (70), too, walked the long walk back to the pavilion in the 24th over. In what came as a surprise for everyone, India had sent Hardik Pandya in at No. 4.

The stylish all-rounder didn’t waste much time either as he hit his first six on the first ball he faced from Agar. Pandya was clear in his approach and it was visible from his batting. India, however, were in a spot of bother when Virat Kohli (28) and Kedar Jadhav (2) were dismissed in subsequent overs.

India still required 88 runs from 88 balls at this point. The Australians lost the momentum quickly as both Pandya and Pandey made sure that the run-flow was never stopped. With five wickets in hand and 54 runs to score in the last 10 overs, an Indian win was on the cards.

India sealed victory in the 48th over without losing any more wickets. They have now become the No. 1 ODI team in the world and have also gained an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series. Hardik Pandya was declared the Man of the Match for his all-round performance.