Team India started the three-match ODI series against Australia with a five-wicket victory in Mohali on Friday (September 22).
Invited to bat first, the visitors posted 276/10 in their stipulated 50 overs. David Warner was the top scorer with 53-ball 52 while Josh Inglis (45) and Steve Smith (41) chipped in with handy contributions.
Pacer Mohammad Shami starred with the ball for India, claiming five wickets by conceding 51 runs in his 10 overs.
In reply, the Men in Blue got off to a fantastic start as the duo of Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad added 142 runs for the opening wicket. However, the hosts lost Gaikwad (71), Shreyas Iyer (3) and Gill (74) in quick succession to find themselves struggling at 151/3. The scorecard soon became 185/4 as Ishan Kishan fell for 18.
Amid the pressure situation, stand-in skipper KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav added 80 runs for the fifth wicket to put the home team on the brink of victory. While Suryakumar threw his wicket away after scoring 50 off 49 balls, Rahul stayed unbeaten on 58 from 63 balls to take India over the line with eight deliveries to spare.
After the game, Rahul pointed out the differences in batting as an opener and batting in the middle order. He used to open the innings earlier in his ODI career.
"At the top of the order, you are creating the game yourself. Even when you are chasing, you know you need to score a particular score. You go in with zero baggage. There is no pressure of falling wickets or required run rate. But when you bat in the middle order, you have the situation in front of you and then need to act accordingly," Rahul said in a recent interview with JioCinema.
"That is the only major difference. I have been lucky that I have got enough games in the middle order to understand and adapt. Batting at positions 4 and 5 are not too different but yes, there is a big difference between opening and batting in the middle order," he added.
KL Rahul has proved his mettle both as an opener and as a middle-order batter in ODIs. Opening the innings, the right-hander has amassed 915 runs in 23 matches at an average of 43.57 with three centuries and six fifties. In the middle-order, he has aggregated 1210 runs in 29 innings at an average of 55.00, including three hundreds and eight half-centuries.
With this victory, India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series against Australia. Indore will host the second ODI on Sunday (September 24).