India beats Australia to win the series and is ranked no. 1 in ODIs

Kuldeep Yadav

By Kersi Meher-Homji

India’s winning streak in the last few months has become a normal pattern. Hope these victories do not sound “ho-hum”.

India has won nine ODIs in a row since July this year; against the West Indies in West Indies, five against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and now three against Australia in India.

Indian cricketers should feel proud defeating World Cup holders Australia 3-0; by 26 runs at Chennai in the first ODI, by 50 runs at Kolkata and by five wickets at Indore on Sunday. Thus India has already won the series with two more ODIs to go, at Bangalore on 28th September and at Nagpur on 1st October.

It is for the first time that India has defeated Australia in first three ODIs in a bilateral series.

The sultan of sixes, Hardik Pandya, was once again made Man of the Match for hitting 78 runs with 5 fours and 4 sixes besides taking the vital wicket of David Warner. This was Pandya’s fourth 50 in ODIs ”“ all in 2017 and all at a strike rate of over 100.

Australia won the toss and started brilliantly, openers Warner and Aaron Finch putting on 70 runs for the first wicket. Then skipper Steve Smith (63) added 154 more runs with Finch (124 with 12 fours and 5 sixes).

The tourists looked winners at 1 for 224 in 37.4 overs. But then young Indian spinners Yuzendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav struck crushing blows and Australia could add only 69 runs off 74 balls to be 6 for 293 in 50 overs.

Indian openers Rohit Sharma (71 with 6 fours and 4 sixes) and Ajinkya Rahane (70 with 9 fours) batted brilliantly to put on 139 for the first wicket. Although skipper Virat Kohli failed, Man of Match Pandya took over and India easily triumphed by five wickets and the series.

The highlight of the series so far has been left-arm baby-faced left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav taking a hat-trick in the second ODI at Kolkata last week. He became only the third Indian to take a hat-trick in ODIs.

The first to achieve this was Chetan Sharma in the 1987 World Cup at Nagpur. The second was the legendary Kapil Dev against Sri Lanka in 1991 at Kolkata. Kuldeep’s was the 44th hat-trick in the history of ODIs.

With India’s five wicket win at Indore and winning the series 3-0, India is ranked no. 1 in ODIs. They are also ranked no. 1 in Test cricket. But wait, there is more. Virat Kohli is ranked no.1 batsman in ODIs and in Twenty20 Internationals.

A grand slam for India, no less!

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