Ravindra Jadeja impressed one and all with his all-round exploits in the first game of the three-ODI series against Australia at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on Friday (March 17).
Opting to bowl first, India bundled out the visitors for 188 in 35.4 overs. Jadeja claimed the prized scalp of Mitchell Marsh, who played a swashbuckling knock of 81 in 65 balls. The left-arm spinner also got the key wicket of Glenn Maxwell (8) cheaply.
In reply, the hosts were struggling at 83/5 before Jadeja joined KL Rahul in the middle. The southpaw played a responsible knock of 45 not out in 69 balls while Rahul stayed unbeaten on 75 off 91 balls as India got over the line with 10.1 overs to spare.
After the game, former India pacer Zaheer Khan heaped praise on Ravindra Jadeja’s knock, saying that the latter has evolved as a batter.
"Jadeja the batsman has evolved over the years and he is able to thrive in these situations, and enjoys these kinds of challenges. So when he is out there, you also have the belief that this guy is going to absorb the pressure and hang in there and that's something which was very important," Zaheer Khan said on Cricbuzz.
"When you have a batsman like KL Rahul at the other end, who is going so strong, then you need that kind of assurance. The partnership between KL and Jadeja was always going to be the most important one because when Hardik got out, there were still a lot of runs left in the game and another wicket there could have really put the Indian team under pressure," he added.
For his stellar all-rounder showing, Ravindra Jadeja earned the Player-of-the-Match award. Speaking after the game, Jadeja said he was looking to get used to the format after missing eight months due to knee surgery.
"I'm playing ODI after 8 months so was just looking to adjust as soon as possible. Luckily did well with the ball, got two wickets and was looking to build a partnership with the bat." Jadeja said at the presentation ceremony.
"Having played Test cricket, line and length was there but you have to alter you lengths and pace. I was looking to build a partnership today of about 70-80 runs, and that happened," he added.