Indore: With the help of some sensational innings by Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Ajinkya Rahane, India successfully chased down a big target of 294 runs against Australia to seal the five-ODI series 3-0 with two matches remaining.
Taking advantage of the perfect platforms set up by openers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, who was promoted up to No. 4 in the batting, played sensible Cricket to lead India very close to the target. The rest was easily managed by MS Dhoni and Manish Pandey to help the hosts secure the 5-wicket victory.
With this victory, India also became the world No. 1 ODI side. It is worth mentioning that India already holds the pole position in ICC Test rankings.
Rohit and Rahane added 139 runs for the first wicket at a very good run rate in just 21.3 overs, before the former departed at the individual score of 71 runs. He took only 62 deliveries and also laced his inning with 6 fours and 4 massive sixes.
Rahane also was looking in great form during his 70-run inning which came off 76 deliveries and was decorated with 9 boundaries.
Skipper Virat Kohli could not last long as he added 28 runs off 35 balls hitting 3 fours. Kedar Jadhav also failed to take advantage of the opportunity and scored just two runs off four balls.
Pandya, however, kept going and scored 78 runs off 72 balls. He also scored 5 fours and 4 sixes during his knock. He went back to the pavilion when India required only 10 runs off 25 deliveries.
Player of the match: Hardik Pandya
Manish Pandey was also instrumental in consolidating the Indian lower middle-order as he remained unbeaten at 36 runs off 32 balls with 6 boundaries. He was accompanied by India’s most reliable finisher MS Dhoni (3* off 6) when India sealed the series with yet another dominating victory.
Pat Cummins was the pick of the bowlers for Australia as he took 2 wickets for 54 runs, while Nathal Coulter-Nile, Kane Richardson and Ashton Agar picked up a wicket each. Marcus Stoinis remained wicket-less and went for 61 runs in 8 overs.
Earlier, after a terrific ton by Aaron Finch, Indian bowlers had done a great job to restrict Australia to 293/6 in the third ODI.
Australia, after electing to bat first, got off to a solid start as openers David Warner and Aaron Finch added 70 runs for the first wicket before the former departed at the individual score of 42 runs off 44 balls. He laced his inning with 4 fours and a six.
Even after Warner went back, skipper Steve Smith joined the party with Finch and together they added 154 runs for the second wicket which had perfectly established the platform for a humongous total.
Finch scored 124 runs off 125 deliveries and smashed 12 flourishing fours and 5 powerful sixes, while Smith played a fine inning of 63 runs off 71 balls. He also decorated his inning with 5 boundaries.
After the departure of the set batsmen, Australia saw a batting collapse as Glenn Maxwell (5 off 13), Travis Head (4 off 6) and Peter Handscomb (3 off 7) went back in quick successions.
Marcus Stoinis, who played a brilliant inning in the previous match also, once again remained unbeaten at 27 runs off 28 balls. He hit a four and a six in his inning. Ashton Agar also contributed 9 runs off 6 balls with 1 four during the slog overs.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, despite some brilliant bowling, could not bag any wickets and went for 52 runs in 10 overs, while Jasprit Bumrah was hit for equal number of runs for two wickets.
Kuldeep Yadav, however, was very expensive in his 10 overs as he conceded 75 runs for two wickets. Yuzvendra Chahal and Hardik Pandya also picked up a wicket each in their respective spells.
This has been one of the most dominating series victories for India against Australia in history. During the course of the match, MS Dhoni achieved another milestone in his remarkable career by effecting 100 stumpings in ODI Cricket. He dismissed Glenn Maxwell off the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal to get to the landmark.
Now Dhoni holds the record of being involved in 750 dismissals at the International level of Cricket.