Hardik Pandya was adjudged Man-of-the-Match in 1st ODI vs Australia    AFP
Hardik Pandya was adjudged Man-of-the-Match in 1st ODI vs Australia AFP

At 87 for 5, Australia were dominating India in the first ODI at Chennai. Big guns such as Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Kedar Jadhav and Ajinkya Rahane were already in the dugout. The onus lied on MS Dhoni, but he needed support from the other end. Hardik Pandya rose to the occasion. India resurrected the innings and posted a healthy 281 for 7 in 50 overs. Pandya stitched a 118-run stand with his former skipper and top-scored with a breathtaking 83 off 66 balls. His innings was studded with 5 fours and as many sixes.

Pandya commenced in a cheeky fashion. An upper cut, off Marcus Stoinis, showed he was in the grooves. He ran hard between wickets, and was well responded by Dhoni. With the partnership brewing, Pandya began to take chances after India neared the 150-run mark. There was no stopping him thereafter. The team management has been backed him to play his natural game, and he brought back memories of ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final, carving out another counterattacking knock.

It all started from the 37th over. Adam Zampa was victimised by Pandya’s onslaught. The over leaked 24 runs with 3 sixes and a four. Pandya, off tossed-up deliveries, played straight and reaped rewards. He relied on his power to send the ball into the stands, and succeeded. The action wasn’t over. Pandya brought up his second ODI fifty. He also smashed three consecutive sixes for the third time in the format since June 2017. He attacked Stoinis as well. However, Zampa had the last laugh after the right-hander fell off his bowling on 83. Nonetheless, the 23-year-old had done his job, and changed the complexion of the game.

The match was reduced to 21 overs during Australia’s innings. Visitors required 164 for victory, but fell short by 26 runs (DLS method). Pandya was adjudged Man of the-Match for his impactful knock and two important scalps.