Chance for India to rout Australia

India is anything but meek, more so in familiar conditions. They had a better run of play on Wednesday and winning the toss was critical. Yet, they deserve praise for chasing down a stiff target with young shoulders coming to the fore.

Australia too are young but they still are the number one ODI side at the moment. World’s strongest usually have a good core of bench strength. So, no excuses here. Indians were better on the night.

Indians won because their young batsmen fired. Two of them—the openers—failed. Yet the rest sizzled. In between the two young turks, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, who orchastrated the chase, back-in-action Yuvraj Singh did his prop-up act superbly.
India controlled most of the game but for those bizarre final five overs of the Australian innings. In these five overs, 84 runs were plundered. Vinay Kumar, Ashish Nehra and Praveen Kumar bore the brunt.

Not all of these overs belonged to Power Play. The final three overs were bowled in regular field setting. Yet Cameron White was unstoppable. The spin of R Ashwin to break things up could have been an option. There was a silver lining though. The wicket which was initially slow, quickened up that bit extra as evening settled in over the ground. The ball was now coming on to bat nicely.

The Australian overdrive was testimony to it. Indians just needed to be patient. And they were so once the chase began. Indian strategy, under Dhoni, has been to retain wickets for better part of the innings. They stuck to their plan brilliantly without taking undue risks.

Openers left early but Kohli and Yuvraj were rock-solid. Gears were gradually shifted with Raina later going into overdrive. It was all so smooth, such a gradual build-up that the final cascade of victory was almost predictable. It’s fair to say India chased down the target without much of a sweat at the end.

In bowling too, Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers. Vinay Kumar had a horror of a final spell but he would be better off for the experience. This win should give Indians the momentum. New Zealand, in their current plight, don’t look a testing opposition. The visit to South Africa in December could be utilised for younger batsman to gain in  experience especially against the shorter stuff. If all goes to plan, India should be ready for 2011 World cup in February.


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