India's winning run in the ongoing 2019 World Cup continued as the 'Men in Blue' registered a comfortable 36-run victory over Australia and, in the process, well and truly established their credentials as title contenders.
There were individual battles aplenty as the captaincy acumen of Virat Kohli and Aaron Finch faced off while the battle of the left-handed openers was clinched by an imperious Shikhar Dhawan over the off-color David Warner.
Jasprit Bumrah outclassed Australia's star speedster Mitchell Starc while Yuzvendra Chahal's dream run in this World Cup continued as Adam Zampa finished wicketless.
Amidst all the individual highs, India's collective dexterity stood out in this high-pressure encounter and three aspects of this complete showing tell us why India might be the team to beat in this World Cup. Here are the three big takeaways from India's facile victory against the defending champions.
Adaptable batting line-up
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Shikhar Dhawan loves playing in ICC tournaments, and may have failed in challenging conditions in the opening game against South Africa, but his knock of 117 really put India on course for a gargantuan 352-run total on Sunday.
India do not bat as deep as England or Australia but their batsmen seem to be the most flexible amongst the lot, both in terms of adapting to the situation as well as adjusting to a different position in the batting order as per the requirement.
While Hardik Pandya's quickfire innings at No 4 really propelled India's run rate at a crucial juncture, the slow-and-steady approach from both Dhawan and the otherwise fluent Rohit at the outset proved how fluid the Indian batters are in terms of adapting to the demand of the situation.
Captain Virat Kohli also had a good hit in the middle after an early period of circumspection and his lofted drives were a delight to watch towards the business end of the innings. MS Dhoni and KL Rahul also came in and played an aggressive brand of cricket right from the first ball against the grain of their typical batting styles.
India's showing with the bat demonstrated a team that's willing to put the collective over the individual and that augurs really well in their quest for a third world crown.
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Good control with the ball in hand
Yuzvendra Chahal was again among the wickets with his nifty leg spin but India's chances of clinching a third World Cup will surely have been bolstered by the fine pace bowling repertoire they possess. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were both spot on from the outset as they frustrated the Aussie openers Aaron Finch and David Warner who, in the end, left too much to do for the rest.
Both were immaculate with their line and length in their first spells but more importantly, struck with their second spells to seal the deal for India. While Bumrah picked up Usman Khawaja, Kumar dealt the sucker punch with two wickets in the same over including that of ace batsman Steve Smith.
Bumrah's death bowling was again a joy to behold as he flummoxed Aussie 'keeper Alex Carey, who was batting aggressively, with a delectable mix of slowers and yorkers.
Both Bumrah and Kumar picked up three wickets and will be a force to reckon with in helpful conditions as the Cup progresses.
Ravindra Jadeja's catch to dismiss Glen Maxwell as he ran in from mid-wicket was one of the best fielding performances from this game, showing how far Indian fielding has come over the years.
What made it more special was the fact that Jadeja was only on as a substitute fielder. Moments later, skipper Virat Kohli scalped one smartly in the deep even MS Dhoni dived in front to complete a sharp catch off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's bowling that underlined India's top show on the field.
With the bowlers trying their best to make a mark with the ball in hand, the fielding efforts only made matters easier as India completed a comfortable 36-run victory.