Run-chases, particularly chasing those huge totals are always a treat to watch. And back in 2013, India managed to chase a very high score so wonderfully that it could be termed as the greatest chase in the limited-overs format. Let’s revisit this famous match between India and Australia in Jaipur:
India was down 1-0 to the Aussies before this match, losing the previous match by 72 runs. In the previous game, it looked like India was cruising, but after a middle-order collapse, India failed to reach a total of 304. India needed to bat well on a flat Jaipur track where teams were most likely to put up totals over 300. As for the Aussies, they needed to continue their form to make the series 2-0 in their favour.
The First Innings Marathon :
Australia had won the toss and chose to bat and looked to continue the winning momentum. And putting up a score over 320 would put pressure on India considering the fact that India failed to manage a score of 300+ in the previous game.
The openers Aaron Finch and Phillip Hughes got Australia off to a breezy start. While Hughes struggled a bit to find his form, Finch kept on attacking the Indian bowlers to keep the score ticking. However, after a fine half-century, Finch got run out thanks to a splendid direct hit by Suresh Raina.Embed from Getty Images
Next came Shane Watson who was going through a lean patch before this match. He joined forces with Hughes and these two were well on course of putting up a huge partnership. As he did with Finch, Hughes continued to play a second fiddle to Watson. Watson, on the other hand, after a shaky start, found his form dealing with fours and sixes. After the 30th over, Hughes too joined the counter-attack with Watson. But alas, Watson got out trying to clear the fence for a fine 59.
Captain George Bailey joined Hughes after Watto got out. He was in fantastic touch after being entrusted the captaincy burden on him. In the previous match too, he won the Man of the Match after an impeccable 85 to guide Aussies to victory. Then, Phillips Hughes too got out after a well fought innings of 83 off 103 deliveries. Maxwell was promoted to No. 5 in order to put up a huge total on this ground.
The both of them went berserk! The Indian bowlers were taken to the cleaners in the death overs. The danger was expected but it was just too much to handle. These too struck a blitz partnership scoring 96 runs off 51 balls. Alas, some relief came for the Indians after Maxwell got out after scoring a sensational knock of 53 off 32 balls. But Bailey didn’t stop, he continued to pile on the misery for the Indian bowlers.Embed from Getty Images
George Bailey, as he did in the previous match, smashed a sensational 92* off 50 balls at a strike rate of 184 with 8 boundaries and 5 sixes.
Australia posted a mammoth total of 359/5 which was way ahead of the par score. The odds were heavily stacked up in the favour of Aussies.
The Phenomenal Run-Chase:
A good start by the openers in such a high run-chase was very crucial in this game. India had failed to chase 304 against the Aussies in the previous game. And in order to win the match, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma needed to get them off to a flyer.
It was a monstrous total to a very inexperienced duo at the top of the order. Shikhar and Rohit only started opening with each other in the same year as this match in a successful campaign at the Champions Trophy.
They started off pretty slowly in the run chase but began to catch up with the required run rate whenever needed. At the end of the 10th over, the score read 70/0. It was the perfect start to a run chase. Both of them complemented each other’s style of batting. Rohit Sharma was more of a cautious player at the start of the innings but Shikhar attacked right from the word go.Embed from Getty Images
Both stitched a hundred-run partnership to steady the run chase. The Aussie bowling attack boasting the likes of Johnson, Doherty, Faulkner, McKay and Watson was being taken to the cleaners by Rohit and Dhawan.
India was 176/0 at the end of 26th over with Shikhar on 95. The game was evenly poised between the two sides, but then, disaster struck. Shikhar Dhawan nicked the ball to Haddin off Faulkner and missed a well deserved century. India now needed 184 runs off 145 balls.
After the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan fell, in walked Virat Kohli. He was assumed to anchor this chase. But in this situation, India needed a big hitter. Well, Kohli on that day, showed that he could take the ball to cleaners whenever the team required.
Now, Kohli displayed his batting prowess right from ball 1. In a crunch situation, Kohli displayed his power hitting skills. While on the other end, Rohit Sharma too was well set on scoring a brilliant hundred.Embed from Getty Images
It was double trouble for the Aussie bowlers, both Kohli and Rohit were charging at them. Kohli reached a half-century in just 27 balls. While Sharma, after taking his time to score runs, started attacking more. Rohit reached the century run mark in 101 balls and nothing could stop him on that day.
The chase at this point looked too easy for the Indians, they just needed 75 runs in 75 balls. And the partnership between these two was a massive 109 in 70 balls.
The game was well and truly done and dusted but Kohli and Rohit made it more convincing. It seemed as though they wanted to finish it within 45 overs.
Kohli then after smashing two sixes off Doherty, chipped in with an easy single for the fastest century by an Indian in ODIs- 100* off 52 balls. While on the other hand, Rohit gave some finishing touches to his masterpiece.
India won in a grand fashion with Rohit slamming a boundary to reach 141 and finish the match with a massive 40 balls to spare. The whole crowd was ecstatic and dancing on its feet as India won the match, which was next to impossible into an easy victory. And thus, it formed a new top order that would continue to flourish for the years to come.Embed from Getty Images
Rohit Sharma proved that he wasn’t a one series wonder. As for Kohli, he continued to show the world how remarkable he was in chasing huge targets with such ease. Also, he proved that he wasn’t just an anchor of the innings but also a big hitter whenever his team needed.
What made this match so remarkable?
Was it remarkable that India won against Australia? No. Was it remarkable because of the fact that India chased a huge target? No. It was remarkable because India had broken a next to an impossible task to an easy win. This match also saw a new top order which reminded everyone of the glorious past.
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