Monday, October 26, 2009

Australia pins India by 4 runs

Harbhajan Singh's and Praveen Kumar's heroics took India agonizingly close to an enthralling win before the hosts slumped to a
four run defeat against Australia in the first match of the seven One Day Internationals series on Sunday.

At 201-7 in their chase of a 293-run victory target, India seemed heading for a comprehensive defeat before Praveen (40 not out) and Harbhajan (49) came up with a defiant 84-run stand off just 57 balls for the eighth wicket (an Indian record) that took them to the doors of victory.

Earlier, Australia set up a victory target of 292 runs. Tim Paine, Michael Hussey and captain Ricky Ponting played splendidly to set up this huge score. Ashish Nehra took 2 Aussie wickets, whereas Ishant Sharma looked in good form after a long time and he ended up taking 3 Aussie wickets.

For India, top order batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag failed badly, however, Gautam Gambhir showed what a gutsy cricketer he is. He hanged on for 85 deliveries and scored an important half century. He scored 68 with 6 fours and 1 six. There were useful contributions from Virat Kohli and the skipper MS Dhoni, but with the wicket of Ravinder Jadeja, India were reduced to 201-7 in 40 overs. It looked like as if the match will have a one sided end. But Praveen Kumar and Harbhajan Singh have other plans. They played smart cricket and Bhajji showed his 'liking' for Aussie bowling once again with a brilliant innings of 49 runs off just 31 balls with 4 fours and 3 big sixes, whereas Praveen Kumar justified his batting talent and he remained unbeaten on 40 off just 32 balls with 5 fours and 1 six.

If India would have won the game, the Man of the Match would certainly had been Harbhajan Singh, but with the Aussies winning it, Michael Hussey was adjudged the Man of the Match for his brilliant 74 off 54 balls with 8 fours and 1 six.

What a series opener it was? I can't wait for the second match which is scheduled to held at Nagpur's Vidharbh Cricket Association ground on Wednesday, Oct 28.


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