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To chants of “Ganpati bappa Morya”, by Indian fans, their team brought home a magnificent victory over defending World Cup champions Australia in their clash at the Kia Oval in London Sunday.
The chant called on Hindu God Ganesh to make himself present and it seemed as if he was right there, as they decimated Australia to walk away with two vital points and remain unbeaten after their two matches at cricket’s showpiece.
India set Australia a huge 353 runs for victory and was able to restrict them to 316 all out – winning by 36 runs.
A brilliant century by Shikar Dhawan, 82 from skipper Virat Kohli, 57 from opener Rohit Sharma and 48 from Hardick Pandya took India to 352/5.
Australia got a sluggish half-century from David Warner at the top as he took 84 balls to score his runs. At least they kept wicket and whilst Steven Smith was in, there was always a chance but a double strike by medium pacer Bhuneshwar Kumar sending back Smith for 69 and Mark Stonis first ball, kept India in control. Smith’s 69 came off 70 balls with five fours and one six. Usman Khawaja forgot his short ball troubles against the Windies to score a polished 42 and keeper Alex Carey made an unbeaten 55 but Australia was always going to struggle against 11 confident men in the field and about 20,000 Indians in the stands backing them.
Earlier, India won the toss and surprisingly took the first strike with Kohli backing his openers to see off the early assistance the Australians were due to get. This they did with alarming ease and from very early on the Oval turned into noise machine as the Indians were in control.
Dhawan and Sharma took the attack to the Australians much to the delight of the 25,000 or so mainly Indian fans. They brought up the first 50 off just 64 balls and the tone was set. Sharma was silky smooth, while Dhawan was brutal. They added 127 runs for the first wicket off 22.3 overs before Sharma fell for a well played 57 off 70 balls with three fours and a six.
Kohli entered the arena to chants of Kohli! Kohli! He did not disappoint his fans as he and Dhawan took the game away from the Australian pace bowling juggernaut. The feature of Kohli’s offering was his timing and with a well set Dhawan at the other end, he had time to construct a good innings.
Dhawan brought up his 17th ODI century off 95 balls with 13 fours. However, he soon left for 117, sharing a second wicket partnership of 97 in 14.3 overs with Kohli. The hurricane Hardick Pandya stepped forward and plastered the Australian bowling to all parts of the ground.
He counted 48 off 27 balls with four fours and three maximums the kill off any thoughts the Aussies had of a comeback. When he left the honorary colonel Mahendra Singh Dhoni arrived and he cracked 27 off 14 balls to add to the drama.
Kohli fell just before the end for 82 off 77 balls with four fours and two sixes, ensuring his team had a wonderful total.
India vs Australia
RG Sharma c †Carey b Coulter-Nile*57
S Dhawan c sub (NM Lyon) b Starc*117
V Kohli (c) c Cummins b Stoinis*82
HH Pandya c Finch b Cummins*48
MS Dhoni † c & b Stoinis*27
KL Rahul not out*11
KM Jadhav not out*0
TOTAL for 5 wkts (50ovs)*352
Fall of wickets:127, 220, 301, 338, 348.
Bowling: PJ Cummins 10-0-55-1, MA Starc 10-0-74-1, NM Coulter-Nile 10-1-63-1, GJ Maxwell 7-0-45-0, A Zampa 6-0-50-0, MP Stoinis 7-0-62-2
DA Warner c Kumar b Chahal*56
AJ Finch (c) run out*36
SPD Smith lbw b Kumar*69
UT Khawaja b Bumrah*42
GJ Maxwell c sub b Chahal*28
MP Stoinis b Kumar*0
AT Carey † not out*55
NM Coulter-Nile c Kohli b Bumrah*4
PJ Cummins c †Dhoni b Bumrah*8
MA Starc run out*3
A Zampa c sub b Kumar*1
TOTAL all out (50 ovs)*316
Fall of wickets: 61, 133, 202, 238, 238, 244, 283, 300, 313, 316.
BOWLING: B Kumar 10-0-50-3, JJ Bumrah 10-1-61-3, HH Pandya 10-0-68-0, Kuldeep Yadav 9-0-55-0, YS Chahal 10-0-62-2, KM Jadhav 1-0-14-0.
Result: India won by 36 runs.