Pandya, Dhoni help 'Men in Blue' go 1-0 up in Chennai

ANI | Updated: Sep 18, 2017 02:38 IST

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], Sept 18 (ANI): The 'Men in Blue' started the five match ODI series against Australia on a winning note with a 26-run victory over the visitors by the DLS method at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday.

The first match of the series started off with a game that was nearly a mix of both formats, ODIs and Twenty20.

The Virat Kohli led Indian side got the opportunity to bat out its 50 overs but was in danger of not doing so, having been reduced to 87 for 5 by Nathan Coulter-Nile taking 3 wickets in quick succession.

From there on, contrasting half-centuries from Hardik Pandya and Mahendra Singh Dhoni took the team to a fighting total of 281 for the loss of 7 wickets.

However intermittent showers during the break played spoilsport as Australia were set a revised target of 164 off 21 overs via Duckworth-Lewis method.

The visitors seemed caught between the two formats in its chase and could only get to 137 for 9 at the end of the game.

With the ball moving around after the rain break, Jasprit Bumrah played a big part in Steve Smith's dismissal, running behind from short fine-leg to hold on to a terrific catch off Pandya, who soon had Travis Head caught behind, leaving Australia 29 for 3.

Dependent on David Warner, the Australian side suffered a major setback when he edged Kuldeep Yadav to Dhoni in the eighth over.

But it wasn't quite game, set and match yet as Glenn Maxwell was still there, and he sent some shivers down the crowd's spine when he took Kuldeep for a four and three sixes in the 11th over.

Australia hoped again, but Yuzvendra Chahal ended those hopes in the very next over when he forced Maxwell to drag one from outside off to long-on. The rest of the game was just an opportunity for the Indian bowlers to increase their wicket-tally.

The spinning duo of Chahal (3 for 30) and Kuldeep (2 for 33) were among the highest wicket takers, but it was Pandya who provided two crucial strikes at the top to derail the Australian chase.

Earlier, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Hardik Pandya shared a crucial century-run partnership to help India post a decent target of 282 runs for Australia.

Opting to bat first, India made what could be termed as the worst start to their innings, losing their first three wickets of just 11 runs.

Though opener Rohit Shrama (28) and Kedar Jadhav (40) tried to find their feet slowly, it seemed that the pitch was assisting the Australian pacers.

However, India rode on contrasting half centuries from all-rounder Pandya (83) and former skipper Dhoni (79) to help India recover from a precarious 87-5 and post a score of 281-7 in their stipulated 50 overs against the Steve Smith-led side.

It was Pandya's career-best ODI score, surpassing his previous best figures of 76, which he notched up against Pakistan in the finals of the ICC Champions Trophy final in England earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Dhoni, who also struck four boundaries and two sixes in his 75-ball knock, also forged another healthy 72-run seventh wicket stand with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (unbeaten at 32) after the loss of Pandya.

For Australia, pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile was the pick of the bowlers as he claimed the wickets of opener Ajinkya Rahane (five), and skipper Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey (both for noughts).

James Faulkner and Adam Zampa also chipped in with a wicket each.

Hardik Pandya was given the man of the match award for his brilliant display with bat and the ball.

India will next clash with Australia in the 2nd ODI to be played in Kolkata on Thursday. (ANI)

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