In the battle of cricketing superpowers, India defeated Australia by 36 runs at the Oval in London, at the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
In front of a partisan Indian crowd, India posted a competitive 352-5. Man of the Match Shikhar Dhawan scored a battling 117 in the face of a threatening Australian pace attack.
Fellow opener Rohit Sharma made 57, captain Virat Kohli played a brilliant innings for 82 and Hardik Pandya entertained with his big-hitting 48.
The key to India’s innings had been to not take risks against Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, and score runs off the other bowlers.
Furthermore, rather than focus on big strokes, the top-order batsmen played balls on their merits, taking the English conditions into consideration.
India had avoided losing many wickets at the top of the order, so they had the ability to go for an onslaught of runs in the last powerplay, in which they scored a whopping 120 runs.
Australia required what would have been a record chase in a World Cup. Although many Aussie batsmen got off to good starts, they lacked one to make a big score and see the chase through to the end, as they were 316 all out in 50 overs.
David Warner took too long to get his 56, Steve Smith was dismissed too early on 69, and Alex Carey’s quickfire 55 not out was brave but came too late.
The scoreboard made the game look much closer than it actually was in reality. Save for a few brief moments, Australia never really looked like they had a chance to win the match, as the target became further and further out of reach.
The Indian strike-bowling tandem of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-50) and Jasprit Bumrah (3-61) performed superbly, and they were supported commendably by Yuzvendra Chahl with his 2-62.
India’s bowlers have once again proved that they can do the job if the batsmen give them a score to defend.
The victorious Indian skipper Virat Kohli said: “A top, top win for us – especially after losing the series (against Australia) in India. We had a point to prove to beat this side. They are playing really good cricket in the two games.
He added: “We came with intent. The opening partnership was outstanding, I got runs, Hardik got runs, MS. It was the perfect game for us. We were very professional again and that pleases you as a captain.”
The losing Australian captain Aaron Finch said: “They got 120 runs off the last 10 overs which is a lot. We didn’t bowl our best stuff and struggled to get wickets early on, which was the key.
“We could have been a bit straighter. You want to get wickets early as they bat very deep.
“It was just one of those games – they just outplayed us.”
Australia are still one of the best teams in the world and cannot be underestimated by anybody. They hope to rebound against a resurgent Pakistan at Taunton, Somerset, on Wednesday.
India showed us the blue print of how to beat Australia. They have won their first two games and will face New Zealand in a much-anticipated top-of-the-table clash at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Thursday.