Clinical India outfox Australia to top ODI rankings
MOHAMMAD SHAMI BAGS FIVE-WICKET HAUL
Mohali: Pacer Mohammed Shami showcased a career-best performance, taking 5-51, while India's top-order batters demonstrated their prowess, securing a convincing five-wicket victory over Australia in the opening one-day international in Mohali on Friday. The victory also propelled India to the top spot in the ICC ODI rankings.
Australia, batting first, were dismissed for 276 in precisely 50 overs, a total that seemed attainable for them before Shami dismantled their lower-order. In response, India's top six batsmen put up a splendid display, with four of them notching up half-centuries. Playing against an Australian side that had rested key players, India comfortably chased down the target with eight balls to spare.
India got off to a strong start as Shami dismissed Mitchell Marsh in the opening over, capitalising on the advantage after skipper KL Rahul won the toss and opted to field. Though most of Australia's top-order batsmen got started, only David Warner (52) managed to cross the half-century mark. Warner formed a vital 94-run partnership with Steve Smith, who scored 41 in his comeback after recovering from a wrist injury. Marnus Labuschagne (39) and Cameron Green (31) contributed useful runs in the middle order but couldn't convert them into substantial scores. Australia appeared poised for a bigger total, with Josh Inglis (45) and Marcus Stoinis (29) scoring freely. However, Shami returned to the attack, claiming three lower-order wickets to trigger a collapse.
India's chase began on a positive note, with Shubman Gill (74) displaying exquisite batting skills. Ruturaj Gaikwad (71) received a lifeline when he was dropped by Josh Inglis, then on 17, off Sean Abbott's bowling.
Gaikwad, filling in for regular captain Rohit Sharma, who was rested along with several other frontline players for the first two matches of the series to keep them fresh for the upcoming home World Cup starting on October 5.
Published in The Daily National Courier, September, 23 2023