India Put Nose In Front In The Dog Fight

ICC World Cup 2019
India vs Australia Played at Kensington Oval London on 9 June 2019

Brief Score Card
India 352/5 (Shikhar Dhawan 117, Virat Kohli 82, Rohit Sharma57, Hardik Pandya 48, MS Dhoni 27. Marcus Stoinis 2/62 ) beat Australia 316 All out ( SPD Smith 69, Warner 56, Alex Carey 55* ,UT Khawaja 42, Aron Flinch 36, Glen Maxwell 28, B Kumar 3/50, Jaspreet Bumrah 3/61,YS Chahal 2/62) by 36 Runs
Player of the Match: Shikhar Dhawan.

Also Read - CWC 2019: Kohli reveals when Shami will play

In the dog fight of the cricket world cup, India prevailed over reigning Champion Australia. Winning by 36 runs in high scoring derby at Kensington oval, India staked it strong claim for a birth among the top four.

The teams are equally matched with strong batting and quality bowling. But India has better balance and with all-round bowling attack, India came out as the ultimate winner.

It was the first defeat for the Australians after winning the first two matches against Afghanistan and West Indies. India so far has played two and won two against South Africa and Australia.

These days matches between Australia and India creates the same excitement as seen in Ashes and India –Pakistan derby. Indians in great numbers flock in the terrace turning these into wavy Blue Ocean. In the sun shining Oval it was no different. Playing very purposeful organized cricket, Kohli squad piped Kangaroos to post.

Batting first, Rohit and Dhawan looked a bit circumspect at the start, but once they got over the early nerves these two fluent openers set up strong foundation with a steady opening partnership of 127 in 23 overs before Rohit left scoring 57 useful runs.

Dhawan was in his usual flamboyant mood in playing aggressive strokes all around. Partnering with prolific Kohli, he consolidated the initial advantage with a fluent second wicket stand of 93 in the second wicket. While Dhawan innings was power packed, Kohli was all grace and elegance. They matched stroke for stroke blunting the sharp edge of Aussie attack.

Starc and Cummins were not in their elements on the flat surface. Australian spin attack of Zampa and Maxwell was like friendly fire. Dhawan (117) scored yet another punishing century. Kohli scored fluent 82. Pandya (48) and Dhoni (27) also made useful contributions.

352/6 at midday appeared a chaseable score on easy paced wicket with sun shining. Several Australians Smith (69), Warner (56), Khawaja (42) and Flinch (36) got started but quality Indian pacers grabbed wickets regularly.

The asking rate continued climbing. Unlike their match against West Indies tail did not wag. Lot was left for the final power play overs. None but Carey (55*) could absorb the pressure. Kumar (3/50), Bumrah (3/61) and Chahal (2/62) appeared too hot to handle for the Aussie bowlers. Ultimately they were wrapped up for 316 still 36 runs short.

Australians need to iron out some shortcomings. Perhaps Nathan Lyon would be far better choice as wicket taking spinner. Australia has to take early wickets. Smarter containing bowling is required in the middle overs.

People always talk about strong Indian batting. Yes with Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli, Rahul and Dhoni they can tear apart any bowling on any wicket. But in my opinion India have the strongest bowling resources in the tournament.

Bumrah is a very difficult bowler to deal with whether at the start or in the death, Kumar moves the ball smartly. India have the best spin attack with so many wicket taking options in Chahal, Kedar Jadhav and Kuldeep Yadav. They have Sami and Jadeja warming the bench.

We believe for all purposes team India is the strongest contender for the top honor. If only they field well it will not be easy to beat team India by any team. But who knows. Teams in ICC world cup 2019 are so much evenly balanced.

Many think these two top dogs would meet again either in the semi final or at Lords for the final for the top honors. But lot to be played yet in this wide open world cup. No team can be taken for guaranteed.

Saleque Sufi

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