- Virat Kohli’s crucial 85 guided India to a seven-wicket victory over Australia.
- India’s spinners, led by Ravindra Jadeja, strangled Australia, setting up a low-scoring encounter.
- KL Rahul’s unbeaten 97* secured the win, overcoming an early collapse in the World Cup 2023 opener.
In a thrilling start to their Cricket World Cup 2023 campaign, hosts India showcased their mettle by securing a convincing seven-wicket win over Australia in Chennai. The match, marked by a low-scoring arm-wrestle, saw standout performances from Virat Kohli and KL Rahul.
After winning the toss and opting to bat, Australia set a target of 199, with Steve Smith (46) and David Warner (41) leading the charge. However, the subcontinental conditions in Chennai favored India’s spinners, with Ravindra Jadeja claiming three crucial wickets for just 28 runs. The Australian top order struggled against the spin, setting the stage for India’s pacers to finish the job.
India’s response was off to a shaky start as Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood exploited early vulnerabilities, dismissing Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, and Shreyas Iyer for ducks. With the scoreboard reading 2-3, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul exhibited resilience to rebuild the innings.
Kohli, in his characteristic style, anchored the innings with a crucial 85, falling just 15 runs short of what could have been his 48th century in ODIs. Hazlewood dismissed Kohli, but Rahul’s unbeaten 97* ensured that India stayed on course for victory. The partnership between Kohli and Rahul, worth 165 runs for the fourth wicket, shifted the momentum in India’s favor.
As the shine wore off the white ball and the Australian attack lost its swing, Rahul and Hardik Pandya seized the opportunity to play more aggressively. With 52 balls to spare, Rahul and Pandya guided India to a comfortable victory, overcoming the early collapse and showcasing the depth in their batting lineup.
The match, contrasting the high-scoring encounters seen recently, harked back to a more traditional subcontinental one-day international. Despite the challenging conditions, India’s performance signaled a promising start to their World Cup journey, with Kohli’s leadership and Rahul’s resilience setting the tone for what lies ahead in the tournament.