India overcame a top-order collapse to beat Australia by six wickets in their ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 opener on Sunday, thanks to a match-winning partnership between Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. India lost their first three wickets for just 2 runs in two overs, but Kohli and Rahul stitched together a 165-run partnership to put India on the path to a comfortable chase. Kohli fell five runs short of a century, but Rahul remained unbeaten on 97 to guide India to victory.
“Yes I was (nervous) to be honest. You don’t want to start like that when chasing a target. Credit to Australia, but some loose shots there as well. But that happens, you want to get off the mark and score quickly in the powerplay,” said Rohit Sharma after the match. “But hats off to Virat and KL – the way they stuck out there to create a match-winning partnership.”
India captain Rohit Sharma admitted that the team will have to brainstorm over their playing XI combinations to suit the different pitch conditions, as they play all their nine round-robin matches at different venues.
“That will be the biggest challenge moving forward because we will play in different conditions, might have to change combinations too and as a team we are prepared to do that,” said Rohit Sharma.
Australia captain Pat Cummins felt his team was 50 runs short of what could have been a defendable total. “At least 50-odd. It was tough, trying to defend anything under 200. It was a really good bowling attack and their spinners made it tough work out there,” Cummins said.
“I wasn’t too upset (with just two spinners), we had 20 overs of spin but some more runs on the board would have made the difference,” he added.
India will next play Afghanistan on Wednesday in Delhi. India got off to a winning start in the World Cup, but they will need to address their top-order woes if they are to challenge for the title. They will also need to be flexible with their playing XI combinations to suit the different pitch conditions.