By Abhijit Banare
Oct 16, 2013
Virat Kohli (100) slammed the fastest One-Day International ton by an Indian, while Rohit Sharma (141) scored his third ton as India chased down record 360 with 39 balls to spare. This is the second highest run-chase in ODI history. India scored 362 runs losing just one wicket of Shikhar Dhawan.
The momentum of the chase was first set by Dhawan who slammed 95 in 86 balls. Kohli scored his ton in 52 deliveries.
During the mid-innings break, commentator Harsha Bhogle reminded Sourav Ganguly that India was hit for 359 during the ICC World Cup final, while he pinched Matthew Hayden reminding that even 434 wasn’t enough for Australia. While it was all in fun and jester, Australians will have a bit to ponder as they are now on the wrong side of second highest chase in an ODI match.
With 360 to score, the aggression or Shikhar Dhawan and fluency of Rohit Sharma had to combine to insert some power into the chase. They started off sedately finding it uncomfortable handling the scorching pace of Mitchell Johnson. Dhawan was the first to break the shackles and came down to awkwardly hit a short ball from Johnson over mid-wicket or a boundary. His defiance was an early indication that he was hungry to go after the mammoth target.
The jittery start could have soon turned into a casualty as Dhawan got two reprieves. While on 18 in the eighth over, he went came down the track to hit Clint McKay, but the ball found the edge and flew high just inside the infield near square-leg. Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin ran all the way to the position and attempted it but the ball popped out of his hands. In the 14th over too, he survived a close stumping call which put the umpire in a spot of bother ruling it in favour of the batsman.
The Delhi batsman made them pay for the lapses as he struck three consecutive boundaries off Shane Watson in the following over. Rohit Sharma was the first to complete his half-century only to slow down later while Dhawan took time to reach his fifty.
Within quick time the opening partnership had surged past 150 with Dhawan doing most of the scoring while Rohit ensured his partner utilises the momentum more effectively by staying at the non-striker’s end. In just 21 innings, Dhawan was on the verge of his fourth ODI ton. However, he was caught by Haddin off James Faulkner for 95.
With the 176-run opening stand in 157 balls, India had kept the heat on the Aussies and the huge target looked well within the reach.
While the Men in Blue had the momentum on their side, there was still a lot off hard work to be done. However, just 10 overs down the line the scenario was completely turned around by Virat Kohli who smashed the opposition as if he was facing net bowlers. Even before Sharma could think of his century, Kohli had blazed to his half century in 27 deliveries — his 26th in ODIs.
Their hundred run partnership came in just 62 deliveries in the 37th over. In the next over, Rohit beautifully timed a cover drive for boundary to reach his third ODI ton and his first as an opener.
By the 38th over, the required run-rate had fallen below six for the first time — a huge achievement considering the gigantic target. The batsmen mercilessly hit fours and sixes. In the last 11 overs 58 runs were needed. The next over by Mitchell Johnson cost them 18 runs decorated with four boundaries. It was just a matter of time that record books were to be revised as a victory looked imminent.
Kohli followed up with six and a boundary in the 42nd over surging closer to another milestone. With two runs needed, Kohli on strike, nudged delicately towards point and completed his record ton. This was his 16th ODI ton.
While the No 3 batsman turned the momentum of the game, Rohit needs to be credited for a matured innings, remaining subdued when Dhawan was on song and balanced it well during the middle overs.
This also the first 300+ chase where the team has won by nine wickets.
Among the bowlers, one couldn’t determine who was the most expensive as every bowler had gone for runs. Johnson who had conceded just 28 in his first six was hit for 40 in the next three. Shane Watson was hit for 47 in his five overs.
The match was set-up by a collective assault effort by Australia with the all the top five batsmen scoring a half-century. Phil Hughes set up the platform with a matured 83 from 103 balls while skipper George Bailey completed the innings with an unbeaten 92 from just 50 balls. The rest of the half-centurions were Aaron Finch (50), Watson (59), Glenn Maxwell (53). The Indian bowlers appeared listless as they were carted all around the ground.
This defeat for Australia was as demoralising as it could get. The two teams meet for the third ODI at Mohali on October 19.
Australia 359 for 5 in 50 overs (Phil Hughes 83, George Bailey 92; Vinay Kumar 2 for 73 ) lost to India 362 for 1 in 43.3 overs (Rohit Sharma 141*, Shikhar Dhawan 95, Virat Kohli 100*; James Faulkner 1 for 60) by 9 wickets.
Man of the Match: Rohit Sharma
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)