India's dominance at the World Cup 2019 continued in fine fashion as they beat Australia in their second match of the tournament by 36 runs at the Oval.
The match turned to be a high scoring affair as Virat Kohli opted to bat first which proved to be an important call as India put up 352/5 in 50 overs. In reply, Australia, despite chasing cautiously, lost quick wickets towards the end while trying to accelerate and finished 36 runs short in the end.
The Men in Blue were clinical in all the departments as they outplayed the defending champions right from the first innings. At the back of a fine performance from India, here is an analysis of how the game panned out for Virat Kohli's men.
A century stand for the first wicket
Indian openers Rohit Sharma (57 runs of 70 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (117 runs off 109 balls) made the most of the batting track on offer after Virat Kohli decided to to bat first on a belter of a pitch at the Oval. The duo started positively and added 127 runs for the first wicket in 22.3 overs, laying a strong foundation for a big total.
Even though Rohit Sharma fell in the 23rd over, Dhawan continued his attack on the Australian bowlers to register his 16th ODI hundred off 96 balls before falling to Mitchell Starc in the 37th over.
Virat Kohli's masterclass
Despite looking a bit edgy initially, Virat Kohli (82 runs off 77 balls) did well to settle in and took the responsibility of taking the Indian innings towards a big score. He, along with Shikhar Dhawan stitched an 87-ball 93 run partnership as the Australian bowlers were under the pump in the middle overs.
At the back of a scratchy innings of just 18 against South Africa, Kohli returned to form to score his 50th ODI half-century and continued his fine form till the last over of the innings, building partnerships with Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni to take his team to a total of 352/5.
No more middle order woes
Shikhar Dhawan's dismissal in the 37th over saw a shuffle in the middle order as the Indian team opted for some acceleration in the form of Hardik Pandya, ahead of KL Rahul.
Pandya got a reprive in the very first ball he faced as Alex Carey dropped a regulation catch off Nathan Coulter-Nile. He soon unleashed his carnage and continued from where he left his batting in IPL 2019 and scored a quickfire of 48 runs off just 27 balls which included 4 fours and 3 sixes.
At his dismissal, MS Dhoni walked and smashed a 14-ball 27 post which KL Rahul's 3-ball 11 cameo helped India to cross the 350-run mark.
India's 'middle muddle' has been a matter of concern in the recent times and with today's performance, India will be a lot relieved regarding the performance of their middle order.
Bowlers hold their nerve
Despite not getting early breakthroughs, Indian bowlers with discipline to keep the scoring rate of Australia in check, building pressure on the batsmen as the required run-rate kept increasing.
The strategy to bowl tight lines finally paid off as David Warner (56 runs off 85 balls) fell to Yuzvendra Chahal in the 25th over. With the required run-rate creeping up, the bowlers were successful in keeping the scoring rate down and scalped three wickets in quick succession to reduce Australia from 238/3 to 244/6 in a span of just 6 balls.
Even though Australia fought back with some late attacks from Glenn Maxwell (28 runs off 14 balls) and Alex Carey (55* off 35 balls), the Indian bowlers ran through the tail quickly and finished skittled out the defending champions for just 316 from 50 overs.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the pick of the bowlers as he finished with figures of 3/50 from 10 overs. Jasprit Bumrah (3/31) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2/62) were the other bowlers among wickets.
However, one of India's main concern from the game was that Kuldeep Yadav (0/55) remained wicketless for the second time in the tournament, raising the question whether he could make way for Ravindra Jadeja for the game against New Zealand.
Top class fielding
India's fielding made it difficult for the Aussies to rotate strike and score freely at times. The run-out of Aaron Finch (36 runs off 35 balls) by Kedar Jadhav and some top efforts from other players like Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul saved plenty of runs.
The top effort on the field put pressure on the Australian batsmen and forced them to play big shots, in the process of which they lost their wickets.
Also read - Most centuries in world cup