India vs Australia: Hardik Pandya’s knock was the game-changer - Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli feels Hardik Pandya’s 66-ball 83, after a top-order collapse, proved to be the game-changer for India in their 26-run win over Australia in the rain-hit first ODI in Chennai.india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 17, 2017 23:28 IST
Virat Kohli on Sunday said Hardik Pandya’s blistering half-century at a crucial stage was the game-changer for India in the first ODI of the five-match series against Australia in Chennai. (India vs Australia 1st ODI Highlights)
India beat Australia by 26 runs via Duckworth-Lewis method in the rain-affected match to go 1-0 up in the series.
Courtesy Pandya’s blistering career-best 66-ball 83 and Dhoni’s 79 off 88 balls, India posted a competitive 281 for seven despite losing the top half for less than 100 after opting to bat. (India vs Australia 1st ODI Scores)
And Kohli said India once again today proved how good their lower-middle was.
“We spoke at the toss that we wanted to put on a big score. We lost wickets but MS (Dhoni) and Kedar played well. Hardik and later MS finished it off like he does.
“It was an example of how good the middle and lower order can be,” he said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“Hardik believes in himself, and his innings was the game-changer. He possesses all three skills equally and we are lucky to have him,” Kohli added.
The India captain also complemented his bowlers for restricting Australia after the visitors were set a revised target of 164 off 21 overs in the rain-curtailed match.
“The bowlers were outstanding as well. It is a matter of giving players confidence. Yuzvendra Chahal is very brave and doesn’t say no to any situation. Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) and (Jasprit) Bumrah were very clinical and our bank bowlers,” Kohli said.
“After the rain, we felt this was our best T20 attack. We can’t have a more perfect combination.”
Rival captain Steve Smith said they lost the plot after reducing India to 87 for five.
“Yeah, obviously we got ourselves into a good position. We had them at 5 for 87 and let things off a bit,” he said.
Smith said the better side won in the first ODI.
“We lost too many wickets in the middle. You can’t control the weather. No complaints, we weren’t good enough and we were outplayed by India,” he said.