Hardik Pandya blasts 78 off 72 © Getty Images
Hardik Pandya blasts 78 off 72 © Getty Images

No matter how hard you try, you cannot take your eyes off the match. Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane played that kind of innings. From pulling with abundance to charging down the track with comfort, the Indian openers displayed remarkable batsmanship and laid a solid foundation in the pursuit of 294.

Given the rate at which the Indians were cruising to victory, the match should have been wrapped up well before the full overs. However, the Australians stayed true to their reputation and punched well above their weight to deny India of an easy win. They dismissed Virat Kohli and Kedar Jadhav in quick succession, giving India a brief scare.

That, or anything, could not have stopped Hardik Pandya tonight. To continue the momentum, the all-rounder was promoted to No. 4, and he did so in style. Fortune favours the brave, and it favoured the audacious Pandya. He blasted 78 off a mere 72 balls, helping India seal 5-ODI series 3-0 at Holkar Stadium in Indore.

Warner, Finch to Australia’s rescue

The pitch looked grey and dead. Sunil Gavaskar believed that it was a featherbed for the batters, and he himself had the urge of having a go on it. Having said that, when Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah bowled, it appeared to have something for the pacers. But that was an illusion until the ball lost its shine, and the staggering duo of David Warner and Finch went all guns blazing. Given the Indian pacers have been ominous so far, the Australian duo took their time to find feet. The scorecard read 49 for 0 after 10 overs.

Pandya breaks the momentum

Pandya hates being out of the limelight. If anything, he thrives under tough situations. When Warner was cruising to 50-run mark, the Indian all-rounder got the better of him with an off-cutter. Before Warner could judge the line, the deceitful ball dismantled his defence.

But Smith helps Finch cut loose

There were times when the odd one kept low. It actually was not easy to score runs, but with the power that Finch possesses, scaling up the scoring rate is not that a difficult task. Missing out on the first two-ODIs, Finch’s appetite to score runs was evident. The belligerent batter went on to score his 8th ODI hundred; 1st in Asia. Smith, who was happy playing a second fiddle, reached his 22nd fifty. Together they added 154 runs for the second wicket.

The duo laid the stage for a prodigious score.

Australia lose the plot

Australia could not end the way they had started. After being taken to cleaners, Kuldeep Yadav got the better of Finch (124) and Steven Smith (63) in quick succession. The Chinaman ended the stand at 154 runs. Jasprit Bumrah then bowled brilliantly at the death, restricting Australia to 293 for 6. India conceded a mere 59 runs in the last 10 overs, grabbing 4 wickets.

100 stumpings for Dhoni

Yuzvendra Chahal feasted on Glenn Maxwell for the third consecutive time in this series. The leg-spinner had Maxwell stumped. The moment became Dhoni’s 100th stumping for India. In all he has 102, given he played 3 ODIs for Asia XI.

Rohit, Rahane go berserk

Did the Indians bat on a different track? How did the Mumbaikars time it so beautifully on a track that kept low at times? When the bat met Rohit’s bat, you wondered if it went over the roof. Rahane was supposed to playing the supporting rule, but he too could not hold himself back. Such was that hour when the opening duo got into the groove and took the Australians apart. They added 139 off 130.

Pandya on the right side of luck

Pandya was dropped by Smith. It was a tough chance, but that very blunder eluded Australia any smallest of chances for victory. Pandya even inside-edged a few, but that did not stop him from annihilating the hapless visitors. He was eventually adjudged Man of the Match for his all-round display.

India dethrone South Africa from the No. 1 spot

With this win, India jump to the No. 1 spot, pushing South Africa at the second position. T20I is the only format India do not sit atop.

Brief scores:

Australia 293 for 6 in 50 overs (Aaron Finch 124, Steven Smith 63; Jasprit Bumrah 2 for 52; Kuldeep Yadav 2 for 74) lost to India 294 for 5 in 47.5 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 70, Rohit Sharma 71), Hardik Pandya 72; Patt Cummins 2 for 54) by 5 wickets.

Man of the Match: Hardik Pandya

Full scorecard