The match, held in Chennai, saw bowlers dominating after India bundled out Australia for a modest 199 runs.However, India faced their own top-order crisis as three of their top four batters fell for ducks in a one-day international for the first time.
KL Rahul, who remained unbeaten with 97, and Virat Kohli, who contributed 85, orchestrated a match-winning partnership of 165 runs, rescuing India and guiding them to their target with 52 balls to spare.
Rahul revealed that he received crucial advice from his senior teammate, Kohli.
“Virat said there’s big help (for bowlers) in the wicket, and (we) just have to play proper shots and play like it’s Test cricket for some time and see where it goes. That was mostly the plan, and I’m happy that we could do the job for the team,” Rahul said.
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The relatively small target allowed the Indian batsmen to take their time in adapting to the challenging pitch, especially when the Australian pacers were applying pressure from both ends. Kohli also had a stroke of luck when Mitchell Marsh dropped him on 12, a costly mistake for Australia.
Australia, a five-time World Cup champion, would be disappointed with their batting performance, as none of their batsmen managed to reach the fifty-run mark. India employed a three-pronged spin attack, which collectively conceded 104 runs in 30 overs while claiming six wickets.
Ravindra Jadeja took three of those wickets and emphasised that he adopted a Test match-like approach, focusing on maintaining a tight line and length rather than attempting extravagant deliveries.
Jadeja explained his approach, saying, “This was my plan, that I should bowl at the stumps, and luckily the ball to Smith turned a little more. My plan was simple. I was thinking that this is a Test match bowling wicket, and I shouldn’t experiment too much because everything was happening on the wicket. So I was trying to bowl it stump to stump.”
In their next match, India are set to face Afghanistan in New Delhi on Wednesday, looking to build on the confidence gained from their hard-fought victory over Australia and continue their journey in the World Cup.
(With inputs from Reuters)