India did very good come back after Mumbai drubbing to win with 36 runs against Australia. Hence the series leveled with 1-1 and Final will be in Bengaluru. Dikhar Dhavan, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli played fifties with wonderful batting. Indian Bowlers also did inspired bowling performance and make success.
Earlier, Australian captain Aaron Finch won the toss and chose to field first in what was expected to be a run-fest on the flat looking Rajkot surface. The plan seemed to have backfired when Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan put up 81 for the opening wicket. Even after Rohit fell to Adam Zampa, Dhawan kept going strong, as if carrying from his Mumbai innings in the company of Kohli, who was back to his usual No. 3 spot.
While taking his time early on, Dhawan (96) unleashed a flurry of strokes late into his innings swiftly moving into the nineties. But the same attitude proved to be his undoing after hooking a short ball from Kane Richardson straight into the hands of Mitchell Starc at deep fine-leg. Till then, he and Kohli had put on 103 runs for the 2nd wicket.
184/2 soon became 198/3 when Shreyas Iyer too was castled by Zampa. From then on, it was a batting masterclass from KL Rahul and Kohli with the former assuming a more aggressive role. Even after Kohli fell to Zampa for the 5th time in ODIs, Rahul carried on with his fluent strokeplay hitting 6 fours and 3 sixes en route his 52-ball-80. He was only dismissed in the last over of the innings via a run-out but till then had put India in a great position.
In reply to India’s total of 340/6, Australia were jolted early on as India picked up their 1st wicket of the series after a total of 41 overs bowled in the form of David Warner. Warner slashed one from Mohammed Shami. Finch was then joined by Steve Smith and the duo ensured stability to the innings with a 62-run partnership.
In the 16th over, Ravindra Jadeja got one to turn past Finch’s attempted sweep as Rahul collected it behind the stumps and flicked off the bails in one motion as the visiting captain tried hard to put his right foot back inside the crease. After numerous TV replays, the 3rd umpire ruled in favour of the hosts, however, Matthew Hayden, who was on commentary at that time, thought that Finch was right to feel hard done by.
Smith was joined by Marnus Labuschagne, who gave a good glimpse of his white-ball potential with a 47-ball-46, forging a 96-run stand for the 3rd wicket. Jadeja again proved to be the thorn in Australia’s shoes when he had Labuschagne in 2 minds in the 31st over offering a simple catch to Shami at mid-off. Australia’s troubles against spin soon assumed gigantic proportions when Kuldeep Yadav removed new batsman Alex Carey (18) and the dangerous Smith (98) in the 38th over of the innings. In the process, Kuldeep also crossed the 100-wickets landmark in ODIs thus becoming the 3rd fastest Indian after Shami and Bumrah to do so.
Smith’s dismissal, who had looked in supreme form till he played on to Yadav, proved to be the final nail in the coffin of the chase as the rest of the batsmen crumbled under the scoreboard pressure.
Shami also took 2 wickets off successive balls by removing Pat Cummins and Ashton Turner as the chase fell away in the dying moments of the match.