India start their 2023 campaign on a high at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai on Sunday
Chennai, October 8, 2023 (IANS): A stunning 165-run partnership off 215 balls between KL Rahul (97 not out) and Virat Kohli (85) carried India to a memorable six-wicket win over Australia to start their 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup campaign on a high at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday.
After Ravindra Jadeja spun a vicious web of left-arm spin mastery while picking an outstanding 3-28 as spinners helped India bowl out Australia for just 199 in 49.3 overs, the visitors caused early jitters in the hosts’ camp by reducing them to 2-3 in two overs.
With the pressure being extremely high, Rahul and Kohli joined forces and used their extensive experience to resurrect the innings and get India on track in the chase. Kohli was also helped by a reprieve on 12 by Mitchell Marsh and kept the scoreboard moving with Rahul in a critical partnership to get India over the line.
Australia needed to strike with the new ball to put India under pressure and Starc did what the doctor ordered by enticing Ishan Kishan to slash hard at a wide delivery and edged to first slip for a golden duck, giving the left-arm pacer his 50th World Cup scalp and the fastest bowler to do so.
Hazlewood added more misery on India by getting a length delivery to nip one back in and trap Rohit Sharma lbw for a six-ball duck. The right-arm pacer, who got in-and-out seam movement, ended the over by having Shreyas Iyer hit a short ball straight to cover fielder to fall for a three-ball duck.
With the crowd completely silent, it started to cheer when Kohli got his first runs, though he was later on beaten by Starc and Hazlewood. KL Rahul got India’s first boundary by driving an overpitched Hazlewood delivery for four, followed by Kohli bringing out straight drive off him for a boundary.
The crowd had a huge sigh of relief in the eighth over when Mitchell Marsh, running in from mid-wicket, couldn’t hold on to a top-edge coming from Kohli’s mistimed pull, giving the batter a reprieve at 12, as India ended power-play at 27/3.
Kohli then flicked off his wrists twice in the mid-wicket region off Cameron Green in the 15th over, followed by Rahul timing his late cuts perfectly to pick a brace of fours off Adam Zampa before driving through extra cover for his third boundary off the 18th over.
Kohli and Rahul would keep the scoreboard moving with their quick running between the wickets, before the former raised his fifty with a pull off Pat Cummins. Two overs later, Rahul got his half-century, followed by Kohli pulling Cummins for a boundary.
With dew also coming in, plus Zampa not getting right length, Kohli and Rahul continued to take boundaries off pacers and spinners as India inched closer to victory. After Kohli pulled straight to mid-wicket off Hazlewood and fell for 85, Hardik Pandya slammed Hazlewood for a lofted six over long-off, also the first maximum of the chase.
Rahul then danced down the pitch to loft Maxwell over long-off for six and followed it up to muscle a four over the non-striker’s head. He finished off the chase in style with a well-timed lofted six over cover and was down on his haunches as India completed an incredible win.
Brief Scores: Australia 199 in 49.3 overs (Steven Smith 46, David Warner 41; Ravindra Jadeja 3-28, Jasprit Bumrah 2-35) lost to India 201-4 in 41.2 overs (KL Rahul 97 not out, Virat Kohli 85; Josh Hazlewood 3-38, Mitchell Starc 1-31) and by six wickets (IANS)