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ICC World Cup: India beat Australia by 6 wickets: Winning start to World Cup campaign

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In ICC Men’s World Cup cricket, India beat Australia by six wickets at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday evening.

Chasing a target of 200 runs set by Australia, India romped home in -41.2 overs.

A strong 165-run partnership between Virat Kohli and KL Rahul for the 4th wicket was highlight of the Indian Innings. While Cirat scored 85, Rahul was unbeaten at 97.

Opting to bat first, Australia were all out at 199 in 49.3 overs. For India, Ravindra Jadeja took three wickets.

India put up a clinical show against Australia in Chennai on Sunday (October 8) to get their World Cup campaign off to a winning start. India’s spin trio of Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and R Ashwin posed problems on a surface that was on the slower side to keep Australia to 199 before KL Rahul and Virat Kohli starred in the chase.

It wasn’t a straightforward chase for India by any stretch. For a side that was reduced to 5/3 in their last World Cup game in 2019, an encore was in store at Chepauk. Ishan Kishan failed to make use of his opportunity in place of Shubman Gill by chasing a wide delivery to get caught at slip in the very first over. More misery was in store in the second over of the chase when Josh Hazlewood caused havoc by dismissing both Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer for ducks to stun the crowd and the dressing room.

India could have been in more trouble had Australia capitalised on an opportunity provided by Kohli a few overs later when he miscued a pull shot. Unfortunately, Mitchell Marsh failed to grasp the chance following which Kohli was a lot more subdued in his approach. At the end of the powerplay, India had only 27 on the board but slowly started asserting themselves, adding 53 in the next ten. While India’s spinners had a field day, Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell quite couldn’t recreate the same impact.

Cameron Green was taken out of the attack by Kohli who clipped him for successive boundaries and Rahul was positive against Zampa in his first over, fetching three boundaries. Post that, the duo were content rotating the strike and scoring predominantly at four runs an over, which was also the required rate. Once the two batters edged closer to the target, they started to free up a little more and in that process, Kohli fell for 85 to give Hazlewood his third wicket. Rahul then almost helped himself to a century before narrowly missing out by four runs.

Earlier in the day, India’s spin trio rattled Australia big time in the middle overs, triggering a collapse that saw Australia get bowled out for just 199. Marsh edged one behind to slip to depart for a duck very early but post that, David Warner and Steve Smith steadied the innings by batting watchfully on a tricky surface. Smith was severe against anything that was bowled either too full or too short like Hardik Pandya found out and India’s decision to bring on Ashwin early didn’t work either.

After 15 overs, Australia were 71/1 with both batters looking set. Kuldeep then provided a crucial breakthrough as Warner chipped one back to him and then Jadeja took over to cripple the former world champions big time. The left-arm spinner got one to turn and hit the off stump for the key wicket of Smith before he got rid of both Marnus Labuschagne and Alex Carey in the same over.

The wickets continued to tumble as the last recognised pair of Maxwell and Green couldn’t rescue Australia either. Maxwell lost his leg stump to Kuldeep and Green gifted Ashwin his first wicket that saw Australia go from 111/2 to 140/7. Things could have been a lot worse for Australia if not for Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc adding some vital runs in the end. Eventually, that only ended up delaying the inevitable as India cantered home with 52 balls to spare.

Brief scores: Australia 199 in 49.3 overs (Steve Smith 46, David Warner 41; Ravindra Jadeja 3/28) lost to India 201/4 in 41.2 overs (KL Rahul 96*, Virat Kohli 85; Josh Hazlewood 3/38) by six wickets

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