IND vs AUS, 2nd ODI: World Cup-bound batters make merry as India seals series

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In a captivating display of cricketing excellence, India’s formidable batting lineup, comprising key players destined for the World Cup, showcased their prowess, securing a resounding 99-run victory (via the DLS method) over Australia in the second ODI showdown held at the iconic Holkar Stadium in Indore. The star of the show was undoubtedly Shreyas Iyer, who notched up a remarkable century, ably supported by the prodigious talent of Shubman Gill, while Suryakumar Yadav and KL Rahul added their own fireworks, culminating in India clinching the series and reaffirming their status as the world’s number one-ranked ODI team as they prepare for the upcoming World Cup.

Australia faced a formidable task, chasing down a target of 400 runs, a challenge compounded by the early dismissals of Matthew Short and Steven Smith, both victims of the astute bowling of Prasidh Krishna. A persistent spell of rain interrupted play, reducing the contest to 33 overs and leaving Australia with the Herculean task of pursuing a revised target of 317 runs.

Ravichandran Ashwin and David Warner breathed life into the contest, with Warner even momentarily switching to a right-handed stance in an attempt to counter Ashwin’s off-spin artistry. Ashwin’s bag of tricks eventually accounted for Marnus Labuschagne and later, Warner himself, propelling him to the lofty status of the highest wicket-taker in India vs. Australia clashes across all formats, a feat that surpassed the legendary Anil Kumble’s record.

Australia’s lower-order showed remarkable resilience, spearheaded by Sean Abbott’s explosive innings of 54 from a mere 36 deliveries. Yet, despite their valiant efforts, it wasn’t enough to alter the course of the match, marking Australia’s fifth consecutive loss in the series.

The limelight of the day unquestionably belonged to India’s World Cup-bound batting maestros, who orchestrated a relentless assault on the Australian bowlers. Despite the early hiccup of Ruturaj Gaikwad’s dismissal, India capitalized on the batting-friendly pitch after Australia opted to field. Stand-in captain Steve Smith had limited bowling resources at his disposal, with the regular captain Pat Cummins, along with Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis, confined to the bench.

Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill formed a mesmerizing 200-run partnership for the second wicket, capitalizing on the inexperience of debutant left-arm spinner Spencer Johnson and the seasoned campaigner Josh Hazlewood. Iyer unleashed a barrage of boundaries, while Gill showcased his extraordinary wristwork to dissect the on-side field.

Even a brief rain interruption failed to dampen their spirits as they continued to pile on the runs. India sprinted to 80 runs in the initial PowerPlay, matching their previous best against Australia.

Adam Zampa, Australia’s premier spinner, struggled to stem the flow of runs, committing the cardinal sin of bowling short. Iyer notched up his half-century with a towering six, while Gill reached the milestone in a mere 37 balls.

As the century mark beckoned, both batsmen experienced a momentary lapse in momentum. Nevertheless, Iyer reached his third ODI century before his departure, caught at deep mid-wicket while attempting a delicate hook shot. Gill followed suit, registering his fifth ODI century before falling to the promising Cameron Green.

Captain KL Rahul, along with Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, continued the onslaught, collectively accumulating 22 boundaries. Rahul exhibited his prowess with three spectacular sixes, while Suryakumar, riding high on confidence from his previous half-century, unveiled his signature array of strokes.

The crescendo of Suryakumar’s brilliance came in the 44th over, where he launched four consecutive sixes off Cameron Green, sending the ball soaring over the long-leg, deep fine-leg, extra-cover, and mid-wicket boundaries in succession. His whirlwind fifty, achieved in a mere 24 balls, became the fastest by an Indian in an Australia encounter. Suryakumar registered his highest ODI score, mirroring India’s dominance as they posted their highest-ever ODI total of 399/5 against their Australian counterparts.

In a match where batting brilliance took center stage, India emerged as the unequivocal victors, leaving an indelible mark on a venue where they’ve maintained an impeccable record across seven encounters.

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