India’s chase of massive target fizzles out, Australia secure morale-boosting win


In what turned out to be a high-scoring encounter, Glenn Maxwell’s four-for in his comeback game proved to be the difference as Australia posted a consolation win ahead of the World Cup. India mustered 286 in a chase of 353.

For a period of time, India seemed to be in the hunt to overhaul the total, especially with Rohit Sharma (81 off 57 balls) providing a blazing start. The highlight of his stroke-play was how he tore apart Mitchell Starc by hitting him on the up and through the line. The left-arm pace bowler, who was returning from a groin problem, looked clueless in his opening spell.

Rohit also took on Pat Cummins with pulls. Washington Sundar, who was given the chance to open, however, struggled a bit for timing and was eventually dismissed by Maxwell. Virat Kohli and Rohit then juxtaposed singles and twos with the big shots to keep up with the run rate. Kohli even charged down the deck to smash Starc for a six.

With the score reading 144 for 1, Maxwell got the prized scalp of the India skipper. Rohit did pack a punch behind his lofted shot, but somehow Maxwell kept his eyes on the ball and grabbed an excellent reflex catch.

Maxwell wasn’t done yet, as he dislodged the fulcrum of the Indian batting unit, Kohli, for 56. For some overs, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer provided a glimmer of hope with a 52-run stand. But Starc landed the hammer blow by removing Rahul, with Carey taking a fine catch.

Suryakumar Yadav, known for his pyrotechnics, could only spoon a catch to Maxwell at mid-wicket off Josh Hazlewood’s off-cutter. Maxwell followed that up by dismissing Iyer, which more or less sealed the deal for Australia. By then, the wicket too seemed to be holding up a bit. Ravindra Jadeja, in particular, found it difficult to up the ante as India folded up in the last over.

Earlier, David Warner’s swashbuckling innings of 54 off 36 deliveries and his alliance of 78 in just over 8 overs with Marsh set the platform for Australia’s massive total. After Warner was dismissed by Prasidh Krishna’s slower one, Marsh and Steve Smith built on the foundation with a partnership of 137.

With the score reading 215 for 2 in just 28 overs, Australia looked set for a total of around 400. However, Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav restricted the opponent to some extent by picking up crucial wickets. Bumrah castling Maxwell with an in-swinging yorker was the cornerstone of India’s performance in the slog overs.

Despite picking up wickets later on in the innings, Bumrah ended up with expensive figures 3 for 81 from 10 overs. Sundar finished with economical figures of none for 48 from 10 overs.

With the World Cup looming large, India take on England in a practice game in Guwahati on September 30, while Australia play the Netherlands in Thiruvananthapuram on the same day. 

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