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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Brilliant Pandya sinks Australia in rain-hit ODI

Brilliant Pandya sinks Australia in rain-hit ODI

Last updated on: September 17, 2017 23:04 IST

Hardik Pandya

IMAGE: Hardik Pandya celebrates after taking the wicket of Travis Head. Photograph: BCCI

Hardik Pandya's all-round flamboyance, complemented by Mahendra Singh Dhoni's customary calm, enabled India score a comfortable 26-run victory over Australia via the Duckworth-Lewis method, in the rain-curtailed opening ODI of the five-match series, in Chennai, on Sunday.

Scorecard

Courtesy Pandya's blistering career-best 66-ball 83 and Dhoni's 79 off 88 balls, India posted a competitive 281 for seven, despite losing their top half for less than 100 after opting to bat.

However, intermittent showers during the break played spoilsport as Australia were set a revised target of 164 off 21 overs.

IMAGE: Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Glenn Maxwell. Photograph: BCCI

Chasing the revised target, Australia did not have the best of starts and kept losing wickets at regular intervals as Pandya picked a couple of wickets.

Young wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav (2/33) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3/30) then ran through the middle and lower order as India took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

For Australia, Glenn Maxwell scored a quickfire 39 off 18 balls while James Faulkner remained unbeaten on 32 off 25 deliveries as the visitors never really threatened with the bat.

IMAGE: Hardik Pandya celebrates after getting to 50. Photograph: BCCI

Pandya and Dhoni added 118 runs for the sixth wicket, Pandya taking the attack to opposition with some brilliant sixes and Dhoni once again playing the role of sheet anchor to perfection.

Pandya's 66-ball innings had five boundaries and five sixes -- four of which were hit off leg-spinner Adam Zampa, including three in a single over.

Dhoni hit four boundaries and two sixes during his 88-ball knock.

The former India captain also added 72 runs for the seventh wicket with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (32 off 30 balls) in only 8.5 overs, which took India beyond the 280-plus total -- something that looked unlikely at the halfway stage.

The turning point of the innings was the 37th over bowled by Zampa when Pandya took him to the cleaners.

India were 148 for 5 at that stage and the pressure was on Pandya and Dhoni, who were trying to rebuild the innings.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni acknowledges the applause from the crowd after getting to 50. Photograph: BCCI

Pandya started with a boundary off a full toss and followed it up with three huge sixes, as 24 runs came off that over, and the momentum suddenly swung India's way.

Earlier, Coulter-Nile making a comeback to the team after being dropped from Australia's Champions Trophy squad, made early inroads by dismissing Ajinkya Rahane (5) early.

The Mumbai batsman did not look very convincing during his brief stay and was dismissed going for a drive off a swinging delivery from Coulter-Nile only to be caught behind by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.

Captain Virat Kohli shaped for a drive and missed off the second delivery he received after having left the first one alone.

After playing the third towards cover quietly, the captain was on his way back after being snapped up the athletic Maxwell at point going for an expansive drive off Coulter-Nile.

IMAGE: Australia's players celebrate the wicket of Virat Kohli. Photograph: BCCI

Maxwell did well to time his jump and take a one-handed catch to cut short Kohli's stay at the crease.

Manish Pandey, who got the nod ahead of his Karnataka state-mate KL Rahul, lasted just two balls. He was out fishing at a delivery on fifth stump.

India were in dumps at 11 for 3 but Rohit Sharma (28) and Kedar Jadhav (40) revived the innings with a 53-run stand.

Both tried to pull short deliveries from Stoinis before Pandya and Dhoni took over and guided India out of trouble.

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