by: Atika Mehboob TN Sports Pakistan:
The 2023 World Cup is in full swing, and while India’s six-wicket win over Australia might seem straightforward on paper, the match in Chennai was filled with unexpected twists.
A brilliant spell from Ravindra Jadeja, yielding 3 wickets for 28 runs, held Australia to a total of 199. However, the chase for this seemingly achievable score began with a disastrous start for India. At a shocking 2 for 3, India witnessed a historic low with three of their top four batsmen out for zeros. Mitchell Starc struck early, sending Ishan Kishan back on his first ball, followed by Josh Hazlewood claiming two big wickets – captain Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer – in a maiden over.
But hope wasn’t lost. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, both seasoned players for India, steadied the ship with a partnership of 165. Despite Kohli’s dismissal for 85, after being granted a reprieve when he was dropped on 12, Rahul was on the cusp of his seventh ODI century. With just 5 runs left to secure the win and his ton, Rahul, aiming for a boundary and then a six, unfortunately sent the ball sailing over for a six on the first attempt, finishing the match with him stranded at 97 not out.
Australia’s defeat was more bitter given the dominant finish by India. Pat Cummins’ choice to bat first after winning the toss, a first in this World Cup, seemed less wise as the game progressed and the ball became less responsive. Hazlewood’s impressive 3 for 38 was the only bright spot for Australia in the latter half. Nonetheless, the primary concern in the post-match discussions would likely be the Australian lineup’s struggle against the spinning prowess of Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, and R Ashwin.