Australians are through to the CB series finals!
Australia won the 10th match against India in the 10th One Day International (ODI) match at SCG Sydney by 87 runs securing a spot in the finals while gaining a bonus point on their way.
Today’s match was a must win game for the Indian team in order to be in the Commonwealth Bank series. Shane Watson the stand-in captain replacing an injured Michael Clarke won the toss and chose to bat. Clarke had to sit out the match as he failed to recover promptly from the back injury suffered from the match against Sri Lanka at Hobart on Friday. Australia made some changes to their sides for today’s match- Watson along with David Warner opened the Australian line up and Ryan Harris was dropped and was replaced by Clint McKay.
Parthiv Patel was left from the Indian side as MS Dhoni returned to the side from his suspension. Praveen Kumar bowled well to give India the necessary start by gathering the wickets of both Watson and Peter Forest. Australia was in trouble as Michael Hussey was run out by Ravichandran Ashwin/ Irfan Pathan with 3-57 on the board.
Warne’s 68 runs held the Australia’s scoreboard together. He was caught by Suresh Raina while colliding into Pathan in his effort to complete the catch. David Hussey and Matthew Wade put up a sturdy partnership to resurrect Australia’s scoreboard. The Australians were lucky when Hussey was not given a run out when he blocked a ball thrown by Raina as he was running towards the crease. Unfortunately India’s appeal for a run out was overturned although the newly changed law clearly forbids the batsman to change the running line to divert the ball directed and heading for the stumps.
Virender Sehwag contributed well with his bowling spell 3-43 in 9 overs. Australians scored 252/ 9 a questionable number on the scoreboard with regards to the fact that the Aussies were lucky with the questionable decision of ruling not David Hussey run out at just 17 runs- leaving the visitors to make 253 to win in order to stay in the series.
Indians struggled to score from the start as the Australian bowlers kept a tight grip on the Indian batting line up. Losing early wickets of Sehwag (5) and Sachin Tendulkar (14) - India was 2-35 in 6.6 overs. Regular fall of wickets left India stumbling as both Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir failed to gain momentum for the Indian scoreboard.
Middle order batsmen crumbled as Dhoni and Raina failed to put out big runs on the scoreboard, Dhoni did not play his usual outstanding game in India’s innings today being out for 14 (49 balls).
Australian team played outstandingly today while defending a decent target of 253 which was achievable if only the Indian top order batsmen put up a strong opening partnership to lead India to a victory. India failed to recuperate from the early wicket tumbles and were all out for 165 in 39.3 overs. The Australians bagged an impressive win of 87 runs taking them comfortably through to the series finals under Watson’s lead.
India will play their last league match against Sri Lanka at Hobart on 28th February; India not only have to win but they have to win with a considerably large margin to secure a bonus point to be considered for a spot in the series finals. The battle of the blues on Tuesday will be a ‘do or die’ match for both India and Sri Lanka to qualify for the finals.
David Warner was named the ‘man of the match’ for his knock of 68 runs which helped the Aussie scoreboard. Australia is at the top of the points table with 19 points followed by Sri Lanka with 15 points and India at the bottom with 10 points.