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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cricket: India Win A Thriller In Nagpur, Draw Level With Australia!

George Bailey Ecstatic
India beat Australia by 6 wickets in a high scoring thriller in Nagpur today and drew level in the ODI Series. India’s much talked about batting strength clicked in the right time and with tremendous contributions from Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni prevented Australia from running away with a straight Series win. This was despite a record-breaking 156 by Australian captain George Bailey earlier. 

Team India’s persistently indifferent bowling and fielding notwithstanding, in the first 22 overs of the sixth one day international in Nagpur today India did manage to put Australia in some spot of trouble. Australia could score just 89 runs in those overs losing two wickets. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar coming in again replacing Vinay Kumar struck for the first time capturing Hughes for 13 in the 7th over. Spinner Amit Mishra coming in replacing Unadkat combined well with Ashwin and kept Australia on a tight leash. Finch fell in the 12th over to Ashwin making it 45/2. Jadeja had dangerous Watson caught, but a no-ball spoiled it all and Watson went on to complete a magnificent century (102 off 94). Australia captain Bailey then took charge and hit Ashwin for a four and a six. After that momentous over there was no looking back for Australia and they scored a mammoth 261 runs in the next 28 overs setting a target of 351 for India in fifty overs. All the bowlers, Amit Mishra and R Ashwin prominently, got hit at will and why they did not bother bowling to their field is something maybe the Indian captain himself did not have a clue about.

Aussie skipper George Bailey broke records during his brilliant 156 runs off just 114 balls. He became the only Australian batsman or captain to score the highest total runs in a bilateral series. Imagine, Bailey was selected to lead Australia just because Michael Clarke was preserved for the Ashes Series. With Watson he gave the momentum to the innings and Australia were just unstoppable. Desperate for a win to stay alive in the series India were facing an uphill task with Australian fast bowlers ready to take the opportunity to do India in and win the series straight.

Shikhar Dhawan Firing All Cylinders
Thanks to the Indian batting marvel, openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan started steadily and then crafted a brilliant partnership of 178 runs in the 30th over giving a fitting reply to the mammoth challenge. Johnson and McKay went for lot of runs with Finch taking the surprise wicket in the form of Rohit Sharma (79 off 89). Going great guns Dhawan notched up a breathtaking century, but fell exactly at 100 off 101 balls to Faulkner making it 234/2 in the 36th over. The game was still wide open as Virat Kohli who raced to his half century and Suresh Raina went about their job. They carried on in full glory adding 50 runs in less than six overs and kept the asking rate under control. At 289/2 in 42 overs India needed 61 runs in 48 balls which was quite manageable with eight wickets remaining. But in the 43rd over Suresh Raina (16 off 15) fell to Mitchell Johnson bringing the question as to why he should come before captain Dhoni in the batting order to the fore again. More trouble for India in that same over as Yuvraj Singh was bowled by a fired-up Johnson for a duck making it 290/4 still needing 61 runs in 7 overs. The game was heading for an exciting finish.
 
Man of the Match Virat Kohli
The Indian captain and vice-captain took full charge confronting an asking rate almost going beyond control. Virat Kohli, arguably a Tendulkar in the making, brought up his 17th ODI hundred off just 61 balls and finally made it 20 runs in 12 balls for a victory for India. From that position India could not possibly lose. They made it run-a-ball in the last over and achieved a magnificent and thrilling victory over Australia by 6 wickets with 3 balls to spare. Virat Kohli, match winner along with Shikhar Dhawan, remained unbeaten with 115 runs in 66 balls and MS Dhoni at 25 not out off 23 balls. Now with both teams at 2-2 the last match on November 2 in Bangalore is going to be a not-to-miss blockbuster. The Scorecard: 
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