A win would have been ideal but India had little to complain about after their penultimate league match against Australia was washed out with persistent showers allowing only 16 overs of play.
Sydney woke up to a wet Australia Day which witnessed numerous spells of rain of varying intensity before the proceedings came to a halt for the second and final time with India, inserted to bat first by Australia, on 69 for two at the end of 16 overs.
Ajinkya Rahane (28 n.o.) and Virat Kohli (3 n.o) were at the crease at that point. The play had stopped at 4.57 pm local time for the second time and with rain unrelenting, the match officials decided to call off the match at 8.07 pm here at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday.
While a huge contingent of Indian fans were left heavily disappointed, the Indian team itself couldn’t have bargained for a better outcome under the circumstances.
The washout meant that India earned two points from the abandoned match and that means they just need a simple win in a direct shootout against England on Friday in Perth to set up the title clash with Australia who finished their league engagements on top with 15 points.
The match began 40 minutes behind the schedule but without the reduction in the number of overs. Mitchell Starc began on a positive note while Josh Hazlewood, one of the five changes that Australia made to their side that played England in Hobart, started with a hat-trick of wides and it wasn’t long before the play was halted when the skies opened up after just 2.4 overs.
The play resumed again 52 minutes later with sides being allotted 44 overs each. The mandatory power play was reduced to nine overs from the normal 10 while the batting power play was brought down to four from five overs.
Starc got rid of a struggling Shikhar Dhawan who once again fell while feeling for the ball, Aaron Finch completing the simplest of catches in second slip. If Rohit Sharma recovers in time for Friday’s game, it’s highly unlikely that the southpaw would figure in the playing 11.
Ambati Rayudu played with the same intent that he showed against England but this time he managed to connect the ball well and picked up a 24-ball 23. The right-hander was dismissed when he miscued a hoick off Mitchell Marsh.
David Warner, returning to the side after missing the England game, covered plenty of ground while running backward from the cover region to bring up a brilliant catch though he made it look simple by getting right under the ball.
Warner, who was fined for his outburst against Rohit Sharma during the Melbourne game, was constantly booed by the Indian supporters on the boundary line and the opener didn’t miss the opportunity to make a statement to his hecklers.
Later he was seen signing autographs and shaking hands with them, showing signs of a truce.
Kohli walked in amid huge cheers from the Indian fans and jeers from home team’s supporters and it wasn’t long before the action was cut short with the rain having the final say.
India had effected two changes to their side for the match – paceman Ishant Sharma and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja replacing Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
The elements, however, didn’t allow them to test the duo that was making a comeback after recovering from their respective injuries.