A remarkable partnership between Virat Kohli and KL Rahul propelled India to a thrilling six-wicket victory over Australia in their opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup at Chennai’s Chepauk stadium. After an early scare that saw India at 2/3 in the second over, Kohli and KL Rahul displayed extraordinary composure, guiding their team to a successful chase of 200 runs.
The match began with high tension as left-arm quick Mitchell Starc dismissed Ishan Kishan for a golden duck in the very first over, caught at slips by Cameron Green. In the following over, Josh Hazlewood struck twice, removing skipper Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer for ducks, leaving India in dire straits at 2/3.
India seemed to be repeating past nightmares of losing early wickets in crucial matches. However, Kohli and KL Rahul showcased resilience as they meticulously rebuilt the innings. With the end of the first powerplay, India had crawled to 27/3, with KL (7) and Virat (17) steadying the ship with cautious shot selection and steady running between the wickets.
Gradually, the pair began to find their groove. In the 15th over, Virat flicked Cameron Green for two consecutive fours, pushing India past the 50-run mark. KL Rahul soon followed suit, smashing Adam Zampa for three elegant boundaries in the 18th over, taking India to 69/3.
By the 20th over, India had progressed to 80/3, with KL (39) and Virat (38) firmly anchoring the innings. Both players reached their respective fifties – Virat his 67th in ODIs, and KL his 16th – cementing their partnership as they approached the 100-run mark.
The duo continued to accumulate runs, wresting control away from the Australians. India reached the 150-run mark in the 34.4th over, with Virat (79) and KL (64) still at the crease, showcasing an incredible 165-run partnership.
The pivotal moment came when Virat Kohli was caught by Labuschagne at midwicket off Hazlewood’s bowling for 85 runs in 116 balls, ending a 165-run partnership. However, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya took charge, steering India closer to victory. KL sealed the deal with a winning six, finishing with an unbeaten 97 off 115 balls, supported by Hardik Pandya’s 11 not out.
Josh Hazlewood was the standout bowler for Australia, taking 3/38.
In the earlier innings, Indian spinner Ravindra Jadeja delivered a brilliant performance, restricting the Australian batting lineup to 199 runs. Jasprit Bumrah’s early breakthrough dismissed Mitchell Marsh for just 5 runs, setting the tone for the Indian bowlers.
Despite David Warner’s initial contribution of 41 runs, Australia struggled to build partnerships. Ravindra Jadeja accounted for key wickets, dismissing Steve Smith (46 runs) and Marnus Labuschagne (27 runs) in quick succession. Alex Carey, Maxwell, and Adam Zampa fell cheaply, and Kuldeep Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin also chipped in with wickets.
Australia managed to reach 199 runs in their allotted 50 overs, but the Indian bowlers, including Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Mohammed Siraj, kept the pressure on throughout the innings.
Also See: India Cricket Schedule
Rohit Sharma Commends Rahul-Kohli Partnership Following Initial Scare in World Cup Opener
Rohit Sharma heaped praises on KL Rahul and Virat Kohli for their outstanding performance in the ICC Cricket World Cup opener against Australia at Chennai’s Chepauk stadium. Their composed partnership was instrumental in securing a six-wicket victory for India, following a shaky start.
“We knew there would be assistance for everyone, and I’m immensely proud of the way our bowlers and fielders executed their roles. But, starting our chase at 3 for 2 was nerve-wracking. It’s always a tense moment to be in such a position early in a game, especially during a World Cup match,” Rohit confessed during a post-match presentation.
Rohit was effusive in his praise for Chennai’s ardent fans, “The crowd was brilliant. Sitting under the sun and cheering for us tirelessly speaks volumes of their passion.”
On the challenges ahead, Sharma pointed out the importance of adapting to diverse playing conditions. “Different surfaces will pose different challenges. We might need to shuffle our combinations, but the team is ready for it,” he added.