CHENNAI: Virat Kohli and KL Rahul scored anchor half-centuries after a disciplined performance by the bowlers as India beat Australia by six wickets in their ICC World Cup 2023 campaign opener on Sunday.
Set to chase an average of 200, India chased down the winning runs for the loss of four wickets with 52 balls to spare.
The hosts, however, had a poor start to their chase as they lost three batters with just two runs on the board as Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer all fell for ducks.
After the fall, KL Rahul joined Virat Kohli in the middle and the duo launched an amazing recovery.
Kohli and Rahul soaked in the pressure and put India in command of a magnificent 165-run partnership that lasted when Kohli fired his pull shot straight to Marnus Labuschagne at mid-wicket in the 1st over. 38 more.
Star batsman Virat Kohli did not reach his deserved century as he scored 85. His 116-ball knock had six boundaries.
Meanwhile, KL Rahul held his ground firmly and carried his bat all the way to guide India to a hard-fought victory to launch their ICC World Cup 2023 campaign with a win.
He also fell shy of his century, scoring an unbeaten 97 off 115 deliveries with the help of eight boundaries and two sixes.
Josh Hazlewood led the bowling attack for Australia with 3/38 in his nine overs while Mitchell Starck had a wicket to his name.
After electing to bat first, Australia lost their first wicket in the third over as Mitchell Marsh fell with just five runs on the board.
David Warner and Steve Smith then strengthened the innings with a partnership of 69, before Kuldeep Yadav took a reverse catch to send the former back to the pavilion.
Warner scored 47 off 52 with the help of six boundaries, becoming the fastest man to score 1000 World Cup runs in 19 innings.
Steve Smith followed him after anchoring the innings with his 46 from 71 deliveries, with five boundaries before Ravindra Jadeja knocked him off-stump as Australia were 110 runs in board.
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The Indian spinners took over from there and battered the Australian batting line, reducing them to 140-7 in the 37th over.
Mitchell Starc showed some resilience with two short partnerships of 25 and 24 runs with Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa respectively.
The Indian pacers returned to the attack and picked the last three wickets to end Australia’s innings at 199.
Starc scored a gutsy knock of 28 runs from 35 balls with the help of two boundaries and one six.
Ravindra Jadeja topped the bowling chart with his aforementioned bowling figures, while Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah picked two wickets each.