Shami, SKY make a statement in India’s 5-wkt win against Australia

The emergence of Mohammed Siraj as the No.1 ODI-ranked bowler and the batting abilities of Shardul Thakur have lately gained…

Shami, SKY make a statement in India’s 5-wkt win against Australia


The emergence of Mohammed Siraj as the No.1 ODI-ranked bowler and the batting abilities of Shardul Thakur have lately gained preference in the build-up to the ICC World Cup, largely reducing India’s reliance on Mohammed Shami in the 50-over format.

However, on Friday, Shami literally made a statement with his second five-wicket haul in ODIs to restrict Australia to 276 before fifties from Indian openers Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad helped the hosts win the first game by five wickets at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium in Mohali.

India’s chase began on a promising note with local lad Shubman Gill (74 off 63) and Asian Games-bound team captain Ruturaj Gaikwad (71 off 77) setting the tone with a 142-run stand before leg-spinner Adam Zampa triggered a mini collapse of sorts that saw four wickets fall in the span of mere 43 runs. Ruturaj made full use of the reprieve received on 17 when he was put down by keeper Josh Inglis off Sean Abbott, and went on to record his maiden ODI fifty.


Gill, on the other hand, continued to impress with his rich vein of form, slamming six fours and a couple of sixes for his knock consuming 63 balls. Making his debut in front of his home crowd, Gill showed no mercy against the seamers, but it was the leg-spinner Zampa, who was at the receiving end of Gill’s fury. The right-hander took the leggie to the cleaners after slamming him for a boundary in consecutive deliveries before milking Cameron Green for another set of boundaries off successive deliveries.

However, Zampa bounced back in style with the wickets of both the openers in quick succession to arrest India’s charge, and before the dust settled, comeback man Shreyas Iyer (3) was back in the pavilion after a mix-up in the middle with Gill. Ishan Kishan (18) got a start but skipper Pat Cummins got the better of the southpaw with a sharp delivery that found the outside edge, leaving the rest for Inglis.

Later, skipper KL Rahul (58 not out) and Suryakumar Yadav (50) joined forces to stitch an 80-run for the fifth wicket that added the much-needed solidity to the Indian innings. Yadav, who was constantly under the scanner for his below par average of 25 in the format, justified his selection in the World Cup squad with a timely fifty before falling to Abbott.

With India needing another 10 runs at the fall of Yadav, Rahul finished off in style with a four and a six to ensure India crossed the line with eight balls to spare.

Earlier, Shami came up with an impressive spell with figures of 5 for 51 from his 10 overs to remind the team management of his impact, after India’s stand-in skipper KL Rahul invited Australia to bat on winning the toss on a track conducive for batting.

The right-armer struck on the fourth delivery of the opening over with the wicket of Mitchell Marsh (4) with an unplayable delivery, and then returned to pack back a well-set Steve Smith (41 off 60) in a short second spell.

Australia’s innings was largely built around David Warner’s brisk 52 off 53 balls, and useful contributions from Smith and Marnus Labuschagne (39 off 49 balls) even as the other middle order batters notched handy scores to propel the side to a defendable total.

Having survived the devastating opening spell from Shami, Warner smashed six fours and two sixes en-route to his half century before left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (1/51) broke his flourishing 94-run stand with Smith. Warner fell trying to slog sweep but failed to get the required elevation and holed one to the deep.

Later, Shami in his second spell, inflicted further damage to the Australians, when he bowled a sharp in-cutter that jagged back enough and Smith, who was late in reacting and ended up inside edging onto the stumps.

While all eyes were on comeback man Ravichandran Ashwin, the off-spinner looked rusty in his first spell but managed to get the rhythm in his second, and ended up with a wicket. Labuschagne’s attempts to reverse sweep a delivery from the offie ended up ricocheting off keeper KL Rahul’s pads with the batter out of his ground.

Cameron Green looked good for his 31 runs but departed after a miscommunication with wicketkeeper-batter Josh Inglis (45) to leave Australia searching for some solidity down the order. Inglis then joined forces with Marcus Stoinis (29) to add 62 runs for the sixth wicket that took Australia past the 250-run mark before Shami returned for his third spell to apply the brakes on their plans of acceleration with the scalp of Stoinis. Towards the end, skipper Pat Cummins’ fiery 9-ball 21 helped the Kangaroos get to the score of 276.