India vs Australia 2019, 2nd ODI, Nagpur, Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. Image Courtesy: Getty

What a close game of cricket it was? Vijay Shankar, India’s newest hero, has pressed his case for the World Cup after he produced an all-round in Nagpur. In the second ODI against Australia, the hosts won the match by eight-wickets; taking a two-nil lead in the five-match ODIs. Though Shankar remained in the limelight for his 46 off 41 balls and two wickets in the last over, it was Virat Kohli’s 40th ODI hundred which kept India in the game. Besides, the spinners and Jasprit Bumrah also contributed with the ball.

Virat Kohli, Vijay Shankar sail India’s boat in Nagpur

It was India who batted first after losing the toss. The hosts didn’t get off to a good start – as Rohit Sharma got out in the first over itself. Shikhar Dhawan, who had suffered through a poor form got out on 21 while Rayudu was sent packing on 18. As India was staring down the barrel, it was the pair of captain Kohli and all-rounder, Vijay Shankar who bailed the team out of trouble. Though Shankar hit a brilliant 46 off 41 balls, it was Kohli, who held his nerves and completed his 40th ODI hundred by the end of the innings.

India vs Australia 2019, 2nd ODI, Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli completed his 40th ODI hundred in Nagpur against Australia. Image Courtesy: Getty

The wickets tumbled during the fag end; courtesy four scalps from Pat Cummins and two wickets from Adam Zampa. Meanwhile, all India could manage was 250.

Spinners, Shankar see India home

IND vs AUS 2019, 2nd ODI, Nagpur - Vijay Shankar Bowled the Balls in the Right Areas - Virat Kohli IND vs AUS 2019, 2nd ODI, Nagpur - Vijay Shankar Bowled the Balls in the Right Areas - Virat Kohli IND vs AUS 2019, 2nd ODI, Nagpur - Vijay Shankar Bowled the Balls in the Right Areas - Virat Kohli IND vs AUS 2019, 2nd ODI, Nagpur - Vijay Shankar Bowled the Balls in the Right Areas - Virat Kohli

Australia could not get over the line. The visitors had a perfect start to their innings, as Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja added 83 runs for the first wicket. However, they kept losing wickets at regular intervals, as the Indian spinners made life difficult for the Aussies.

Meanwhile, Jasprit Bumrah turned the match on its head when he took two wickets in the 46th over, whereas, Marcus Stoinis top-scored for Australia as he scored 52 runs. In the end, it was two wickets off the last over from Vijay Shankar, which helped India win the game by eight runs in Nagpur.

Here is what captain Kohli said the post-match presentation –

“When I walk to bat, just needed to put my head down and bat. I’m totally exhausted now. He (Shankar) was batting outstandingly well, but was unfortunately run-out. I was thinking about the 46th over. I was talking with both of them (Rohit and Dhoni). If they take wickets, we’d be right on the game.”

“He (Shankar) just put the ball in the right areas. He showed great composure with both bat and the ball. Both are experienced, it’s always nice to speak them. These guys watch the game so keenly. Invariably all of them are in the same page. He just turned the game around, he’s at the top of the rankings, top of the game.”

“Just to come through in games like these, gives great confidence. There might be low totals in WC games as well. We will fight till the end, and tonight was such a day. Kedar was keen to bowl the last over as well. He gives you 7 overs as well. It felt good (40th ODI century), just a number.”

Gautam Sodhi

I am more than just a cricket lover. I have been breathing this game since I was three, and now I am making a living out of it. Also, FC Barcelona happens to be my second love, and evidently, I prefer...