Two in Two for India at CWC 19

India make it two wins out of two matches at the CWC 19 as the Men in Blue produce a superlative performance at the Kennington Oval. Century number 17 for Shikhar Dhawan and a strong bowling performance led to the breaking of Australia’s spotless streak in 10 ODI games. India became the first team after the 1999 Pakistan side to successfully defend a total against Australia in a 50-over World Cup match.

The Oval was host to a rousing atmosphere as Indian fans flocked the stadium in the blue outfit. The stage was set for the much-anticipated India-Australia clash which was the 12th meeting of the two teams at the Cricket World Cup, most for any two teams at the mega event.

Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first. A good toss to win as it turned out that an unchanged Team India put on an exhibition of supreme batting. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan clicked well as the two openers stitched their 16th 100-run partnership. While Rohit got caught behind for a well-made 57 to a Nathan Coulter-Nile delivery, Dhawan continued with his smooth innings. Dhawan along with skipper Kohli played risk-free cricket to cement another long stand of 93 runs for the Men in Blue.

Dhawan was India’s top-scorer, thanks to a sublime 117-run knock. The opener’s time at the crease was stapled with quality shot selection, immaculate timing and 16 fours. Kohli, too, had a scintillating time in the middle as he scored his first fifty of CWC 19. The captain’s 82 was followed by an entertaining show for the Oval crowd, courtesy of Hardik Pandya. His quick-fire 48 and valuable cameos from MS Dhoni and KL Rahul powered India’s innings.

Given how challenging the track proved to be in the initial overs, India did a commendable job in posting the mammoth total of 352.

As Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah took charge of the bowling duties for India, the track proved to be as testing for the Australians too. The Aussie openers struggled to get into their own as the Indian seamers made use of the pitch to the best of its utility.

David Warner scored his second fifty of CWC 19, but that it came in 84 balls did not help Australia’s run-chase. The required run-rate was running farther away from the Aussies, despite Steve Smith playing a fighting knock of 69.

Some powerful striking from Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey did harbour some hope for the Kangaroos, but the Indians were determined to make it two wins out of two in the tournament. Carey’s half-century, the fastest of this edition of the World Cup was a spirited knock. However, his 35-ball 55* came at a time when it was too little to late for the Australians.

Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar bagging three scalps each and Yuzvendra Chahal getting two to his name resulted in the Aussies bundling out for 316. Team India will derive a lot of confidence for the games to come from this win in London.

India will play their next game against New Zealand at Trent Bridge on 13th June, Thursday.