India wins her 500th ODI in the Nagpur thriller

By Kersi Meher-Homji

India’s Vijay Shankar, left and Ambati Rayudu celebrate after winning the second one-day international cricket match against Australia in Nagpur, India, Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

What a thriller, the result in doubt till the final over!

Sent in to bat in the second One Day International (ODI) at Nagpur on Tuesday, India totalled 250, thanks to skipper Virat Kohli (116) and Vijay Shankar (46) adding 81 runs for the fourth wicket. Fast bowler Pat Cummins was the most successful bowler with figures of 4 for 29 including the wicket of India’s opener Rohit Sharma for a duck.

Australia started promisingly as skipper Aaron Finch (37) and Usman Khawaja (38) put on 83 runs off 87 balls for the first wicket. But then wickets started falling as fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah and leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav bowled accurately.

Determined to win this match to make the ODI series one-all, Marcus Stoinis (52) and Peter Handscomb (48) added valuable runs. But once Handscomb was brilliantly run out by Ravindra Jadeja, wickets started toppling again.

Now to the final pulsating over by medium-pacer Vijay Shankar. In the only over he had previously bowled in this match, he was belted for 13 runs. And I said to myself, “Why give him the vital win-or-lose last over?” Australia needed 11 runs to win with two wickets remaining and Stoinis was in top form.

But happily for India, Shankar proved me wrong. He had Stoinis lbw off the first ball and then clean-bowled last man Adam Zampa off the third.

And India won by eight runs to lead 2-0 in the five ODI series. This was India’s 500th victory in ODIs.

Kohli was made Man of the Match.

The third ODI starts on Friday (8th March) at Ranchi. Australia has to win this match to keep the series alive.

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