India chases down 243 for 4-1 series win vs Australia


Nagpur: Opener Rohit Sharma scored 125 runs as to help Team India secure 7 wicket win over Australia in the fifth and final ODI at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha here on Sunday. This was Rohit’s 14th ODI hundred.The victory also ensured that Virat Kohli’s side clinched the ODI series 4-1.

India will now topple South Africa to occupy the No.1 spot in the ICC ODI rankings.

Indian openers put on 124 run stand for the first wicket to set the platform for Team India’s victory. Rohit Sharma scored 125 runs off 109 balls, while his opening partner Ajinkya Rahane contributed 61 runs off 74 balls.

For Australia openers David Warner and Aaron Finch provided a solid start  with  66 run first wicket partnership. Warner top scored with 53 runs off 62 balls. Travis Head (42) and Marcus Stoinis (46) also contributed with the bat in the latter half of the innings as the visitors put up a challenging score of 242/9 in their full quota of 50 overs.

In reply openers, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma made cautious start to their innings. Rohit took 14 balls to open his account in the run chase, but accelerated in the latter stages of the innings as he punished Australian bowlers to all the parts of the ground.

Nathan Coulter-Nile finally provided the breakthrough for Australia when he had Rahane LBW for 61 runs. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa also picked up two wickets. Zampa got rid of Rohit Sharma and skipper Virat Kohli, but it was too late for the away side to stage any kind of comeback as Team India completed a crushing victory over their opponent.

Opting to bat after winning the toss, Australia got off to a good start with Warner and Aaron Finch (32) putting on 66 runs for the first wicket. Their 50 partnership had come off 49 balls as the duo made good on their form.

Following his hundred in the last game, Warner reached his 17th ODI half-century off 56 balls. But Finch couldn’t go on as Hardik Pandya (1-14) broke the partnership in the 12th over when Jasprit Bumrah made a catch at mid-off look very easy, managing to hold on and force Finch to walk back.

Australia’s 100 came up in the 20th over as Warner put on 34 runs with Steve Smith (16). Then Kedar Jadhav (1-48) provided the second breakthrough as he trapped Smith lbw shortly after with the Australian skipper out sweeping.

In the 23rd over, Warner holed out to long on off Patel as Australia were dealt a quick double blow. Two overs later, the visitors were in serious trouble when Patel also snapped up Peter Handscomb (13) who was out sweeping with Ajinkya Rahane running back from slip to complete the catch.

Australia could have been in deeper trouble still but an 87-run partnership between Travis Head (42) and Marcus Stoinis (46) for the fifth wicket saved them. The duo batted with patience to counter India’s spin attack and put on 50 runs in 64 balls to keep the scoreboard turning over.

They helped the total move past 200 in the 42nd over. Neither batsman though could manage to get a big score.

Head went first, bowled off Patel in the 43rd over, as he tried to force the scoring pace. In all, he faced 59 balls and scored four fours.

Stoinis had earlier survived an lbw shout off Kuldeep Yadav (0-48) via DRS review. But two overs later, Jasprit Bumrah (2-51) trapped him lbw, this time a DRS review could not save him. He faced 63 balls and hit four fours as well as a six.

Matthew Wade (20) reached double figures for the first time in the series but it wasn’t enough as he holed out in the deep off Bumrah again.

He had put on 27 runs with James Faulkner (12) as India’s tight bowling in late overs just didn’t let the scoring rate get away, limiting the visitors to 52 runs for five wickets in the last 10 overs.

Faulkner was run-out in the last over with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-40) also accounting for Nathan Coulter-Nile (0) as Australia finished with a below-par total.

Pandya was named man-of-the-series for 222 runs, including two half-centuries, and six wickets in five matches.

“It was probably a 300 wicket. One of the top four batsmen needed to make a big score but we lost wickets in clumps again,” Smith said. “We have been outplayed and deserved to lose 4-1. A lot of our players have played a lot of cricket in India and we cannot use that as an excuse … We have a few days until the T20 series. We would like to go home with a trophy.”

The three-match T20 series begins on Saturday.

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