Chahal registers career best 6/42 before Dhoni and Jadhav star with bat to help India win maiden bilateral ODI series in Aus
Legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal took a record 6-42 to propel India to a seven-wicket win over Australia in the third one-day international and a 2-1 series win on Friday.
Chahal’s return was not only a career-best, beating his 5-22 against South Africa, but matched the best figures in an ODI in Australia, a record held since 2004 by his compatriot, India fast bowler Ajit Aragkar.
Chahal, who missed the first two ODIs, helped India to bowl out Australia for only 230 after captain Virat Kohli won the toss on a rainy afternoon in Melbourne.
After fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar removed both Australia openers, Chahal ran through the middle and lower order to end the innings with eight balls left in their 50 overs.
Peter Handscomb’s 58 from 63 balls was the only substantial contribution from an Australia batting order struggling to find consistency.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again closed out India’s match and series victory with an unbeaten innings of 87 from 114 balls in a perfectly paced run chase, completing the win with four balls to spare for the second consecutive match.
After putting on 54 for the third wicket with Kohli (46), a century-maker in the second ODI, Dhoni completed India’s win in an unbroken partnership of 121 with Kedar Jadhav, who finished 61 not out.
Dhoni scored half-centuries in all three matches and was named man of the series. His unbeaten half-century in the second match at Sydney also saw India to victory, chasing Australia’s 298, with four balls to spare.
Australia bowled exceptionally well in defense of a mediocre total. Jhye Richardson bowled his 10 overs for 27 runs, dismissing Kohli, and spinner Adam Zampa’s 10 overs cost only 34 runs.
‘can bat at any position’
Former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Friday said he has no preference in the Indian batting order and is ready to bat at any position as per the need of the team.
Dhoni was adjudged the Man of the Series after he guided India to a comfortable seven-wicket win in Melbourne.
Batting at number four, Dhoni, who generally bats at number six, anchored India’s chase with a 114-ball 87 not out which was studded with six boundaries.
“I am happy to bat at any number. The important thing is where the team needs me,” said Dhoni, when asked where he wants to bat.
“Whether I play at 4 or 6, we need to see if the team balance can be retained. I’m happy to bat lower down at 6. I can’t say I can’t bat at No 6 after playing 14 years,” he said after the match.
Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav shared a 121-run partnership for the unconquered fourth wicket while chasing a tricky target of 231.
Asked what the game plan was, Dhoni said: “It was a slow wicket, so it was difficult to hit whenever you wanted to. No point going after the bowlers who were bowling well, so we wanted to take it deep and that was the plan.
“Of course supported brilliantly by Kedar, who plays unorthodox shots. He did a great job in executing.”
India captain Virat Kohli praised the team for the win.
“It wasn’t a great wicket to bat on, so we had to take it deep, but they were professional in getting the job done,” he said.
“Kedar with bat and ball is always handy. Kuldeep had played a few games, so you don’t want to make things too predictable. So we brought on Yuzvendra Chahal, and he played beautifully.”
It is the first time India remained unbeaten on Australian soil in all three formats and Kohli said it augurs well for the upcoming World Cup.
“It’s been an amazing tour for us. We drew the T20 series, won the Test and the ODI series. We are feeling confident and balanced as a side with the World Cup in mind,” he said.
Playing his first match in the series, Chahal sizzled with a maiden six-wicket haul to be adjudged the Man of the Match.
Meanwhile, Australian captain Aaron Finch said: “We took it down to the wire. Our batting in the first couple of games was very good. Maybe we should have set our targets lower on those sort of pitches.
“When you give great players a couple of chances, it’s always tough…We did put down chances, but the boys gave it their all. Their batting in the first couple of games was very good.”
Saturday, 19 January 2019 | AP/PTI | Melbourne
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