New Delhi: Team India stormed their way to post a fighting total of 281 runs at the loss of seven wickets owing to two commendable yet contrasting fifties from veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni and all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the first one-day international match against Australia, at M Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, on Sunday.
Opting to bat first, Aussie pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile crumbled down Indian hope to mere 11 for three wll within the first powerplay overs as he removed jittery opener Ajinkya Rahane and then skipper Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey for a duck – India's fourth such instannce where No. 3 and 4 batsman departed without affecting the score.
Rohit Sharma and Kedar Jadhav did try their luck out at reviving India's stuttering innings but both departed with India wounded at 87 at the loss of five wickets in the 22nd over. Hardik Pandya then spun a whirlwind with his willow notching up a flurry of sixes and boundaries to amass 83 runs to bolster India's total.
"The situation where we were, it feels good. They were on top and the pressure was there, so it was important to give myself some time. Came off pretty well," Pandya said during the mid-innings break.
The all-rounder from Baroda stitched a match-reviving 118-run stand alongside Dhoni as the duo took the hosts past the 200-run mark. But what remained a highlight from his spectacular show at Chepauk was his fourth instance of a hat-trick of sixes and Adam Zampa was the bowler who recieved the punishment. Well, it did bring up his thrird ODI fifty with thoses sisxes, in just 48 deliveries.
"I was trying to hit out before the Zampa over as well. Generally my plan is hitting straight - I don't care if long-off is there or long-on is there. If I connect well, I know I will clear the boundary," Pandya added.
"It was important for me to make a partnership with MSD. I mean, I have learnt a lot from him, still learning. We were speaking how we needs to change things up. It is a pleasure to play with him. When we were batting, we were thinking of 230, so we'll take this," Pandya concluded.
After Pandya's dismissal, Dhoni rampaged through, justifying his role as a finisher as he notched up his 66th ODI fifty. His 88-ball 79 and a 72-run partnership alongside Bhuvneshwar Kumar powered Virat Kohli's side to 281 runs.