Winning is a habit and team India is in cloud nine, with ninth consecutive win in ODI and that makes us proud in the International arena of cricket. The winning streak started in West Indies, continued in SL with a whitewash and blossomed in a winning unit. The architect of India’s win was Hardik Pandya as he stroked freely to hit 78 priceless runs of 72 balls with 5 fours and 4 sixes. He is the mainstay of Indian batting and scored runs at a rapid pace to put the side on top. His wicket David Warner was the turning point to the game. Pandya is a dynamic all-rounder, who has the ability to bowl a useful spell with the ball, bat with a purpose and field with enthusiasm. The work load taken by this youngster, reduce the pressure on captain and other players. Kudos to team India! For pocketing the series in the first three games and achieve an unassailable lead.
Kapil brought with him a freshness that taught India how to win matches and helped them beat the bullies of international cricket. Pandya’s raw energy could act as the fuel that further fires up the Virat Kohli generation. Kapil wore India’s ODI cap number 25 and Pandya became the 215th player to wear an ODI cap for India.
Australia, meanwhile, have lost 10 of their last 11 away from home and lying low on confidence. Very close to a big finish when the visitors got slowly back into the game after a punishing start via Rohit and Rahane. It boiled down to one moment, Smith dropping Pandya on 41 before Pandey had scored. Once reprieved, the new Indian number four smashed his way to 78, only throwing it away when the finish line was within touching distance. The base laid by the openers meant Australia were always playing catch up and never had enough runs unless they took all ten wickets.
At different periods all five bowlers did commendably, but the pressure was not sustained for long enough. But it all comes back to runs. Not enough of them after Finch made a run-a-ball 124. Smith said as much in the post-game. As for India, they are now officially the top ranked side in the world. Fair play! Plenty of questions for Australia to answer in the final two ODIs.
India chased down the 294-run target in 47.5 overs. Thus Team India took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series and dislodged South Africa to top the ICC ODI rankings with 120 points. It is time to remain as top team as one day cricket is topsy turvy all the time.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)