Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 17 (ANI): Former India pacer Venkatesh Prasad praised KL Rahul's sublime unbeaten knock of 75 and insisted the wicket-keeper batter formulated his innings quite brilliantly.
A gritty and resilient half-century by Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja's crucial knock of unbeaten 45 guided India to 5 wickets victory with 61 balls remaining against Australia in the first ODI of three-match series here at Wankhede Stadium on Friday.
Rahul (75) pulled India out of dire straits, and his unbeaten 108-run stand with Jadeja, helped India cross the line with 61 balls to spare.
Prasad took to Twitter and tweeted, "Excellent composure under pressure and brilliant innings by KL Rahul. Top knock. Great support by Ravindra Jadeja and a good win for India. INDvAUS"Only a month prior, Prasad had posted a number of threads arguing that Rahul needed to be removed from the Indian squad for Test matches. According to Prasad, Rahul's selection in the team was even allegedly the result of favouritism.
"There is a view that KL Rahul has an outstanding overseas Test record. But stats speak otherwise. He has a test avg of 30 overseas in 56 innings. He has scored 6 overseas centuries but followed it up with a string of low scores that's why averaging 30. Let's look at a few others," Prasad tweeted earlier.
Coming to the match, defending a small total of 189, Australia got off to a terrific start and gave India an early blow in the second over of the game. Marcus Stoinis drew first blood as he dismissed Ishan Kishan for 3 runs. Star batter Virat Kohli then came out to bat. Mitchell Starc delivered a fine over throwing deliveries around 145kph and gave India back-to-back two big blows.
Starc dismissed Kohli for 4 runs while right-handed batter Suryakumar Yadav for a Golden Duck. At the time of the powerplay, India's score read 20/3. On Starc's hat-trick ball, new batter KL Rahul drove it pristinely through covers for a boundary. Indian batters struggled to score runs against Australia's world-class pace attack.
Starc in red-hot form gave Men in Blue another blow as he sent opener Shubman Gill packing for 20, leaving India reeling 39/4.
Gill's wicket invited the captain Hardik Pandya to the crease who opened his account with a deep backward boundary.
Sean Abbott delivered a terrific over as he did not let the India duo of Rahul and Pandya score big and conceded just two runs in the 12th over of the game. The India duo rotated the strike brilliantly and gathered runs while playing boundary shots at regular intervals, easing some pressure from the team. After 15 over, India's score read 64/4.
Easing some pressure from the team Pandya and Rahul slammed Australian bowlers for boundaries. Stoinis gave struggling India another blow as he removed Pandya for 25, leaving Men in Blue reeling at 83/5 in 19.2 overs. Star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja then came out to bat. The duo of Jadeja and Rahul slammed Australian bowlers all around the ground while piling singles.
Rahul displayed great resilience and determination as he brought up his 13th ODI half-century in 73 balls in the 35th over of the game. The Indian pair hammered Adam Zampa for 17 runs with the help of one four and a maximum.
The duo kept taking singles and brought up their 100-run partnership stand in 120 deliveries. Jadeja then slammed Starc fro two boundaries and guided his team home with a 5-wicket victory over Australia.
The second ODI of the series will be played at Visakhapatnam on March 19. (ANI)