Team India has levelled the series with Australia, led by a Kohli special and an MSD ‘classic’ at Adelaide.
Indian captain Virat Kohli and M S Dhoni showed once again why they are considered masters of the chase in the game of cricket. During the second ODI at Adelaide, they effectively blunted the Australian bowling attack to ensure that India took the match and leveled the ODI series 1-1.
Australia had earlier posted a total of 298/9, thanks largely to an explosive century by Shaun Marsh. He was involved in four middle order partnerships with UT Khwaja (21 of 23 balls, 3×4), PSP Handscomb (20 of 22 balls, 2×4), MP Stoinis (29 of 36 balls, 3×4) and finally Glenn Maxwell.
The last partnership was particularly lethal and threatened to take the score to around 320. However, Bhuvneshwar Kumar provided critical breakthroughs by removing both Maxwell (48 of 37 balls, 5×4, 1×6) and Marsh (131 of 123 balls, 11×4, 3×6) in the 48th over. Australia lost two more wickets for a span of just 3 runs as Shami got the better of Richardson and Kumar took another scalp with Siddle. Eventually this late burst of wickets brought the Aussie run fest to a grinding halt at 298/9.
India had a much better start as compared to the first ODI with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan posting 47 runs for the first wicket. Shikhar attacked the Australian bowling at the outset, but was eventually caught by Khwaja off Stoinis for 32 (28 balls, 5×4).
Rohit Sharma started consolidating the innings with Virat Kohli and started freely playing his shots. But he was also dismissed relatively early for 43 (52 balls, 2×4, 2×6).
Virat then took the onus of the chase with MS Dhoni and the duo managed it immaculately. Though the asking rate was high, they kept it under control without playing too many risky shots. Kohli scored a well-deserved century with a mix of class, caution and aggression and eventually departed for 104 (112 balls, 5×4, 2×6).
After Kohli’s departure, India still needed 57 runs off 38 balls, but Dhoni continued with Dinesh Karthik to take India home.
Dhoni brought his well-known finishing skills to the chase, keeping it down to ones, twos and threes and slowly chipping away at the target. However, he was also ably supported by a special cameo from Dinesh Karthik who scored 25 of just 14 balls (2×4) and took much of the pressure off the scoring rate.
Criticised across the board for his slow scoring rate in the previous match, Dhoni ultimately scored a pivotal 55 runs of 54 balls with two sixes, the second of which brought the scores level in the last over. Virat Kohli, who was named Player of the Match, rightly called it “an MS classic”. This innings should put Dhoni baiters on hold for a while.