The final game of the three-match series between India and Australia was a much win game for both the teams. After facing a thwarting loss of 10 wickets in the first game in Mumbai, the Men in Blue made an explosive comeback in the second game at Rajkot and won it by 36 runs. Thus, team India chased down the Kangaroos to level the series for 1-1.
The Indian skipper Virat Kohli who lost the toss for the third consecutive time in this series was asked by the visitor’s captain, Aaron Finch to bowl first.
David Warner along with Aaron Finch came onto the crease to open the innings, but it didn’t take much longer for the right-arm pacer Mohammed Shami to bid goodbye to Warner in the only 4th over of the game. After Warner’s departure, Steve Smith arrived and tried to build up a partnership with Aaron Finch. Unfortunately, even Aaron Finch had to go back to pavilion after falling prey to a brilliant run-out by Ravindra Jadeja. There was a sigh of relief on the faces of the Indian players after taking two early wickets of Australia’s in-form batsmen.
This relief was soon replaced with terror as Steve Smith started to show his true colors. Smith along with Marnus Labuschagne troubled the Indian bowlers. The Aussie Test star, Marnus Labuschagne scored 54 runs off 64 balls by hitting five 4s before getting caught by Virat Kohli on Ravindra Jadeja’s delivery. Steve Smith’s 131 runs off 132 balls marked his ninth ODI century. Steve Smith thrashed fourteen 4s and one 6, and helped Australia to put up a score of 286-9 at the end of the fifty overs. During Australia’s batting innings, Mohammed Shami took 4 wickets in the 10 overs he bowled, by conceding only 63 runs. Bumrah’s spell of 10 overs for 38 runs also helped to restrict Australia for a low score.
Although Virat’s army is known for winning the matches in a run chase, it seemed incomplete in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan who usually opens the innings. Shikhar Dhawan was sent back to the dressing room as he injured his shoulder while fielding. With no options left with team India, KL Rahul opened the innings with Rohit Sharma.
Early dismissal of KL Rahul, invited the Indian skipper onto the crease. KL and Rohit scored 69 runs in their opening stand giving India a steady start. From then on, it were the fiery knocks by both Virat and Rohit which helped team India gain a tricky pace in their run chase. Rohit Sharma went on to score 119 runs off 128 balls, by mocking the boundary for eight 4s and six 6s. While Virat Kohli played a sensible knock of 89 runs off 91 balls. It was the partnership of 113 runs between these two players, which somehow confirmed India’s win.
After Rohit’s wicket, Shreyas Iyer also scored 44 runs off 35 balls along with Virat Kohli. Virat Kohli’s dismissal let Manish Pandey come to bat, who later went on to score the match-winning runs.
Thus, the Indian team took the lead of 2-1 in the three-match series to thrash the Aussies for 7 wickets victory in this last game at Bengaluru. This was surely the revenge team India was seeking after last year’s 3-2 loss against the Kangaroos.
Apart from the great show presented by the Indian batsmen, the highlight of the match was also Rohit Sharma completing his 9000 runs in ODI.
Man of the Match was Rohit Sharma, while Virat Kohli grabbed the Man of the Series.
With the New Zealand tour starting from 24 January, we hope that team India continues to spill the same form against the Kiwis too.