Australia has suffered its fourth consecutive ODI defeat, with an undermanned Indian outfit clinching a five-wicket victory in Friday evening’s series opener in Mohali.
Tasked with chasing 277 in hot conditions at Inderjit Singh Bindra Stadium, India reached the target with eight balls to spare, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Indian seamer Mohammed Shami, later named player of the match, claimed five wickets in a classy bowling performance before stand-in captain KL Rahul, who finished unbeaten on 58 (63), steered the hosts towards victory. The result means India climbs to No. 1 on the ICC ODI rankings.
MATCH CENTRE: Australia vs India 1st ODI scorecard
Both sides were plagued by sloppy fielding mistakes throughout the contest, while several Australians were guilty of making starts without converting them into substantial scores. Five members of Australia‘s top six reached 30, but nobody scores more than 52.
The Indians were without superstars Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Kuldeep Yadav, while Australia sorely missed the talents of injured duo Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell.
“Disappointed we didn’t get over the line, but I thought a few of the guys batted well, and a few of the guys bowled well,” Australian captain Pat Cummins said in the post-match presentation.
“No doubt you’ve got one eye on the big tournament coming up, but you want to get in good rhythm here, and you want to start setting your standards so they get drilled in.”
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After Rahul won the toss and elected to field first, Shami only needed four deliveries to create the first breakthrough, with Australian opener Mitchell Marsh edging towards Shubman Gill at first slip for 4.
David Warner and Steve Smith combined for a 94-run partnership for the second wicket, with Shreyas Iyer handing the veteran opener a massive reprieve on 14 by dropping a regulation chance at mid-off.
Warner departed for 52 (53), his 29th ODI half-century, after miscuing a slog against Ravindra Jadeja and holing out towards long on. Shortly after, Smith was bowled by a Shami peach that seamed back into the right-hander, with the inside edge crashing into leg stump.
Marnus Labuschagne was fortunate not to be back in the sheds for 11 after Suryakumar Yadav botched what should have been a regulation run out, with Rahul failing to retrieve his wayward throw.
The Queenslander’s luck ran out in the 33rd over when Rahul dropped a chance off Ravichandran Ashwin’s bowling, only for the ball to ricochet back into the pegs, stumped in bizarre circumstances for 39 (49).
Following a brief rain delay, Cameron Green was run out for 31 (52) in calamitous scenes after a moment of miscommunication with wicketkeeper Josh Inglis. Green was left stranded in the middle of the pitch after attempting a second run, and Yadav redeemed himself by completing the dismissal at the non-striker’s end.
The Australians crawled towards a defendable total of 276, with Inglis scoring a busy 45 (45) and Cummins blasting an unbeaten 21 (9) at the death. Shami, after cleaning up the tail, finished with 5-51, his maiden five-wicket haul in ODIs against Australia.
India’s run chase got off to a cruisy start, with openers Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad combining for a 142-run partnership to knock off more than half of the deficit.
However, the hosts lost 3-9 in a chaotic 24-ball passage of play to bring Australia back into the contest. Both openers were deceived by spinner Adam Zampa, with Gaikwad trapped on the pads for 71 (77) and Gill bowled by a gorgeous slider for 74 (63), while Shreyas Iyer was run out after a smart piece of fielding from Green.
India would have been in an even worse position if Zampa had not fumbled a low return chance in the 28th over, gifting Rahul an extra life on 1.
“That’s a sitter,” former Australian batter Mark Waugh said in commentary.
The missed catch proved costly, with Rahul forming an 80-run partnership with Yadav, who smacked 50 from 49 balls, for the fifth wicket. Rahul brought up his 14th ODI fifty in the penultimate over before bludgeoning Sean Abbott over long-on to seal the win.
“That’s what I was dreaming of when I started playing this format, try bat to the end and finish the job for the team,” Yadav said after the match.
“I’m loving my new role.”
Victoria’s Matthew Short made his 50-over international debut in Mohali, becoming Australia’s 242nd men’s ODI cricketer, while gloveman Alex Carey and bowler Josh Hazlewood were rested for the series opener.
The second ODI between India and Australia gets underway at Indore’s Holkar Cricket Stadium on Sunday evening at 6pm AEST.
Originally published as Australia suffers fourth consecutive ODI defeat as India claims series opener in Mohali