India beats Australia by 36 runs at Cricket World Cup
By FOSTER NIUMATA Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — India convincingly ended Australia's 10-match winning streak and underlined its Cricket World Cup title ambitions in a 36-run victory at the Oval on Sunday.
The teams evenly split eight one-day internationals this year but India openly admitted it was preparing for the World Cup, and showed how brilliant its planning was by dominating the defending champion all over the park.
India chose to bat first in front of an Oval ringed in blue shirts, and paced its innings superbly, starting slowly and finishing in a rush to make 352-5. Shikhar Dhawan hit his third World Cup century, 117, and combined in an opening stand of 127 with Rohit Sharma. Captain Virat Kohli added 82.
After conceding its most runs ever at a World Cup, Australia's chase was unhurried and never got out of third gear. Half-centuries by Steve Smith (69), David Warner (56) and Alex Carey (55 not out) couldn't disguise an underwhelming game plan. They were all out for 316 on the last ball.
The same XI which beat Afghanistan and the West Indies didn't threaten to make the match a contest, and was flattered to get within 36 runs of India.
The teams are good enough to meet again in the playoffs, but an impressive India will take all of the encouragement from only its fourth win over the Australians in 12 World Cup matchups.
The scoreboard pressure Kohli wanted to create and achieved got to Australia counterpart Aaron Finch, going for a second run and being run out easily while on 36 from 35 balls.
Fellow opener Warner was also slow. Even with Smith as a partner, they reached the 20th over still under 5 an over and already needing 8.
Warner's 50 was his slowest yet in ODIs, off 77 balls, only three days after his previous slowest, off 74 against Afghanistan. He was out caught in the deep trying to up the pace.
The longer Smith was in, the better Australia's chances. But he was out in the 40th over, plumb lbw to Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 69 off 70 balls.
Australia needed 115 off the last 10 overs to win. India hit 116 off the last 10 overs. Australia never looked like doing it, or going for it, as it scored only what India seemed to allow it.
Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah evenly shared six wickets after watching their batsmen set up the victory.
Dhawan and Sharma opened with typical caution. They gave only one chance, a tough one, by Sharma on 2 in the second over off Mitchell Starc. Nathan Coulter-Nile couldn't make a leaping, one-handed catch stick. The openers didn't offer another opening until the 23rd over.
By then, Sharma joined greats Sachin Tendulkar (3,077 runs), Desmond Haynes (2,262), and Viv Richards (2,187) as the only players to score 2,000 ODI runs against Australia.
Sharma and Dhawan's 16th century stand in ODIs tied for second in history with Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden, and behind only the 21 of Sourav Ganguly and Tendulkar, who was in attendance. Sharma ended the partnership on 127, fishing at a Coulter-Nile riser and giving a catch behind. After his unbeaten century against South Africa, he anchored again with 57.
Dhawan had been the aggressor, and he was imperious the whole time except when he reached his century, which came from an overthrow. Kohli avoided being run out by a direct throw, and as the ball glanced away, he got up and completed the single Dhawan needed.
To sustained acclaim, Dhawan celebrated his 17th ODI hundred, his fourth against Australia, and third in World Cup cricket. This was in the 33rd over, 24 overs after he'd taken a Cummins bouncer and needed his left thumb bandaged.
"Played it smartly and calmly," Dhawan said. "I like playing at the Oval."
No kidding. This was his third century in five innings at the Oval.
He was caught on the boundary in the 37th over, and walked off to a standing ovation.
Pandya came in ahead of Lokesh Rahul, Kedar Jadhav, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and was dropped first ball by wicketkeeper Carey off Coulter-Nile's bowling.
Pandya justified his promotion and made Australia pay for the error by smashing a 27-ball 48. Pandya and Kohli combined for 81 runs off 55 balls.
Kohli looked good for a century until Dhoni accepted 14 deliveries and cameoed with 27. Both batsmen were dismissed in the last over, Kohli off the penultimate ball for an easy 82 from a pedestrian 77 balls.
This was only the second time India's top three have scored 50-plus in the World Cup, and they were helped along by Australia's poor change bowlers.
Finch, who would have batted first, said they needed "to do the business in the first 10 overs." Cummins and Starc kept India corked without luck, and the change bowlers released the pressure. Coulter-Nile went for 14 in his first over, Adam Zampa went for 11 in his first, and Marcus Stoinis' short balls were treated with contempt.
India was confident scoreboard pressure would ruin Australia's attempt at a World Cup record chase of 353. India was right all day.