India and Australia battled in a hard-fought clash in the 1st ODI at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Friday (March 17). Though the game wasn't a high-scoring affair, there was enough for the crowd in attendance to enjoy and eventually celebrate as India won by five wickets to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.
Stand-in captain Hardik Pandya won the toss and chose to bowl first, a decision vindicated by his bowlers who bowled out Australia for 188 in the 36th over, picking up the last 8 wickets for 59 runs.
Mitchell Marsh plundered 81 off 65 balls, but other than him no other Australian batter could cross the 30-run mark as Mohammad Shami (3/17), Mohammed Siraj (3/29) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/46) bowled terrific spells.
India would have fancied a comfortable chase, but it wasn't to be, as Mitchell Starc rocked the top order with a three-wicket burst with the new ball to leave India reeling at 39/4 in the 11th over.
KL Rahul, who also kept wickets, then steadied the ship and added a 44-run partnership with Hardik Pandya before the latter was dismissed by Marcus Stoinis for 25, with India at 83/5 and the last recognised batting pair in Rahul and Jadeja at the crease and over 100 runs still to get.
The experienced duo soaked in the pressure and batted calmly with no real pressure of the run-rate. Once the ball stopped swinging, life became lot easier for the duo and Rahul showed his class by scoring his 13th half-century in the format.
His milestone was applauded by the Indian dressing room and all the fans in attendance at the iconic ground. Virat Kohli, who only scored 4, stood up and showed his appreciation of the knock that came when the team was in a pressure situation.
Rahul hasn't had the best of times lately but his ODI performance has been brilliant and today's was another outstanding knock by the classy batter with his team in strife.
Jadeja scored the winning runs in the 40th over to finish 45* while Rahul remained unbeaten on 75 in India's five-wicket win. Jadeja won the Player-of-the-Match award for his all-round show.
The next match will be played in Vizag on Sunday (March 19).