Shikhar Dhawan’s classy hundred and a quality bowling effort powered India to a 36-run victory over Australia, denying two fallen heroes a fairytale script while sounding a warning bell for their opponents in the World Cup here , last evening in London.
The legend of Dhawan in ICC tournaments continued to grow as his stylish 117 formed the cornerstone of a fantastic batting display that propelled India to a commanding 352 for five.
In reply, Australia never looked like getting there as they managed only 316 in 50 overs with Steve Smith (69 off 70 balls) and David Warner’s (56 off 84 balls) half-centuries being of little consequence.
After a professional run-chase against South Africa in the opener, the second match saw the ‘Men In Blue’ burying the five-time world champions under a deluge of runs. An astounding 131 dot balls (21.5 overs) were bowled by Indian bowlers which ultimately made the difference.
Warner’s innings was an antithesis to his style of play and pegged Australia back before he was sent back by Yuzvendra Chahal (2/62 in 10 overs). Still Australia was in with a slim chance till Usman Khawaja (42) and Smith were at the crease.
Khawaja shuffled way too much trying to play a scoop behind square and was bowled by Jasprit Bumrah (3/61 in 10 overs), and Australia lost whatever momentum they had gained.
Smith, who played his usual shuffling across the off-stump game, looked threatening but an asking rate of 10 put immense pressure, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar got him with one that angled in to catch him in-front of stumps. It was a nice comeback for Bhuvneshwar (3/50 in 10 overs), who was hit for three boundaries by Glenn Maxwell.
Once Smith was gone, the game was as good as over for Australia even though Alex Carey helped himself to a half-century (55 no off 35 balls). Having beaten South Africa and Australia in the first two games, India will now be considered as the team to beat in this tournament.
Earlier, Dhawan, during his 17th ODI hundred found perfect support from fellow opener Rohit Sharma (57 off 70 balls) in a stand of 127. He then joined forces with Virat Kohli, consolidating the innings with a 93-run stand for the second wicket.