Having sealed a 2-1 win in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, India began the three-match ODI series on a positive note, defeating Australia by five wickets in the first fixture, at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Chasing a target of 189 runs, India reached 191/5 in 39.5 overs with KL Rahul slamming an unbeaten knock of 75 runs off 91 balls, packed with seven fours and a six. Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja remained unbeaten with a knock of 45 runs off 69 balls, including five fours. In Rohit Sharma’s absence, Hardik Pandya took over the captaincy role, and added 25 runs off 31 balls to the chase. Also, Mitchell Starc took three wickets for the Aussie bowling department.
Initially, Australia were bowled out for 188 in 35.4 overs, courtesy of three-wicket hauls from Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj respectively. Meanwhile, Jadeja took two wickets, Hardik and Kuldeep Yadav bagged a dismissal each.
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The focus was on Pandya’s captaincy, and fans, experts were left impressed with his aggressive style. Even former India captain Ajay Jadeja heaped praise on his leadership skills, and predicted that he would bring back interest in ODI cricket.
“Whenever you watch Hardik Pandya play, he plays in a different way. Not just playing, watch him walking in the afternoon, he has a different vibe and that the Indian management has noticed. He is always aggressive, so when you look at the playing XI, who were the bowlers, Shami, Siraj, be it a good or bad day for him, that’s different. Then he has kept Kuldeep, then he himself bowls aggressively. Jadeja is a defensive bowler but is not really defensive. His mindset is aggressive so the captaincy doesn’t have a drag in games. Everyone has their own ways, some are successful, some are not”, said the former India captain.
“If you look at Kane Williamson, if he would have been far that day in the run out, then people would have said, why did they take it so close. That’s his style of playing. Similarly, MS Dhoni had a style, so this is Hardik Pandya’s style. This is attacking style, it won’t bore you. It will bring back your interest in ODI cricket”, he further added.
The second ODI is scheduled for Sunday, and will take place at the YS Raja Reddy Cricket Stadium in Cuddapah. The match will also see Rohit Sharma return to action and he will take over the captaincy from Hardik.