KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja stayed calm as India beat Australia by five wickets in first ODI
Cool as a cucumber! That’s how one would like to describe the performance of the Indian team as they edged out Australia by five wickets in the first one-day international in Mumbai on Friday, March 17.
Opening the innings for the first time in ODIs, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh ignited Australian hopes, but an impressive bowling display by Mohammad Shami and Mohammad Siraj saw the visitors lose the plot and be bowled out for 188.
On a seamer friendly Wankhede stadium, it turned out to be a daunting task for the Rohit Sharma-less Indian batting line-up as Mitchell Starc and Marcus Stoinis reduced them to 83 for five.
But KL Rahul shrugged off his indifferent form in Test cricket and made it count when it mattered the most, while Ravindra Jadeja made it a memorable return to the format after eight months as they knocked off the runs in 39.5 overs.
Chasing 189 to win, India were left tottering at 16 for three in the fifth over with the likes of Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav back in the hut.
Five overs later, it was 39 for four with Shubman Gill could not recreate his recent performance in the longer format of the game.
Hardik Pandya, who was leading the side in the absence of Sharma, and KL Rahul tried to stabilise the innings with a 44-run stand for the fifth wicket. Pandya slammed three fours and a six in his 31-ball 25 before becoming Stoinis’ second victim of the match.
But it was the calm and composure of Rahul and Player of the Match Jadeja that helped India soak up the initial pressure and build up the innings before giving the finishing touches with an unconquered 108-run partnership.
While Rahul top-scored with an unbeaten 91-ball 75, which saw seven fours and a six, Jadeja dropped anchor to score an unbeaten 45 off 69 balls that included five fours.
Earlier, Australia sprung a surprise with Marsh scoring a memorable half century, his 14th half century in the format, while opening the innings for the first time.
Marsh slammed 61-ball 81, which included five sixes and 10 fours, but his effort went in vain as Indian pacers took control. Despite fielding a long batting line-up, Australia lost their last five wickets for just 19 runs, which became their undoing.
Md Shami and Md Siraj took three wickets each, while Jadeja picked up the crucial wickets of Marsh and dangerman Glenn Maxwell.
BRIEF SCORE: Australia 188 in 35.4 overs (M Marsh 81; Md Shami 3/17, Md Siraj 3/29) lost to India 191/5 in 39.5 overs (KL Rahul 75*, R Jadeja 45*; M Starc 3/49) by five wickets