Chennai, India (AP) — Hardik Pandya put in an impressive all-round performance as India beat Australia by 26 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-curtailed first ODI on Sunday.
Pandya scored 83 runs off 66 balls as India won the toss and reached 281-7 in 50 overs. With the ball, Pandya took 2-28 as the tourists were restricted to 137-9 in 21 overs after being set a winning target of 164.
“I don’t think anything has changed for me. I am the same Hardik I was a year back,” Pandya said. “Perhaps I am a bit calmer than last year. I just wanted to play my game out there.”
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took 3-30 in five overs.
India took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. The second one-day international is in Kolkata on Sept. 21.
The Australian innings was delayed by nearly 2 1/2 hours as persistent rain kept the players inside. On two occasions, the rain stopped long enough for teams to come back on with renewed targets set. But the rain returned again to delay proceedings.
Finally, at 8.30 p.m. local time, the match resumed with Australia reduced to 29-3 in the seventh over.
Jasprit Bumrah (1-20) bowled Hilton Cartwright (1) in the fourth over, and then took a brilliant catch running backward at short fine leg to dismiss captain Steve Smith (1) off Pandya seven balls later.
Smith had survived a leg-before shout via DRS in that over, but couldn’t make it count. Two overs later, Pandya made it a double blow as Travis Head (5) was caught behind.
David Warner (25) was undone by some clever variations from left-arm leg spinner Kuldeep Yadav (2-33). The left-handed opener was caught behind in the eighth over, leaving Australia reeling at 35-4.
Glenn Maxwell (39) then threw his bat around as he hit three fours and four sixes during his 18-ball stay. His cameo helped Australia past 50 in the 11th over before Maxwell holed out off Chahal at long on. Australia’s lower middle order struggled against the Indian leg-spin duo.
Maxwell was the highest scorer for Australia, with James Faulkner unbeaten on 32 runs at the end, pushing Australia past 100 in the 17th over.
The visitors simply couldn’t kick on when faced with a steep target off 21 overs, as all their work in the Indian innings was undone.
India had been reduced to 87-5 but recovered thanks to Pandya who notched up his highest ODI score, surpassing his previous best of 76 against Pakistan in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy in June.
Pandya’s stay at the crease included five fours and five sixes, whilst MS Dhoni scored 79 runs.
“The ball was stopping a bit, and skidding on. It was tough to face. We lost too many wickets in the middle overs,” Smith said. “Obviously we cannot control the weather, but we were outplayed by India tonight. We had bowled very well with the new ball but we let the Indians off the hook.”
Opting to bat, India had made a poor start as they were reduced to 11-3 in the sixth over. Nathan Coulter-Nile took 3-44, striking three times in the space of seven balls.
First, Ajinkya Rahane (5) was caught behind in the fourth over. The big moment came when Maxwell held a stunning one-handed catch off Virat Kohli at backward point. The Indian skipper was out for a four-ball duck. Coulter-Nile struck twice in that sixth over as Manish Pandey (0) edged behind two balls later.
At the other end, Smith dropped Rohit Sharma (28) off Pat Cummins at second slip in the fifth over. The opener, on 4 not out then, made good use of this life and added 53 runs for the fourth wicket with Kedar Jadhav (40).
Marcus Stoinis (2-54) struck twice. First, Sharma was caught in the deep pulling a short delivery from Stoinis in the 16th over. Jadhav then added 23 runs with Dhoni, before he too miscued a pull off the same bowler to midwicket in the 22nd over.
It brought Pandya and Dhoni together at the crease, and they dug India out of this huge hole. They added 118 runs for the sixth wicket.
Pandya hit Adam Zampa (1-66) for three consecutive sixes in the 37th over. He reached his third ODI half-century off 48 balls. The 100 partnership came off 106 balls as India crossed 200 in the 41st over.
The hard-hitting all-rounder was caught off Zampa in the same over. Dhoni took charge of the lower-order as 83 runs came off the last 10 overs, hitting four fours and two sixes in all.
Dhoni brought up his 66th ODI half-century off 75 balls, before he was dismissed in the final over of the innings off Faulkner. Dhoni crossed 4,000 ODI runs on Indian soil, becoming only the second Indian batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to do so.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was 32 not out off 30 balls.
“MS (Dhoni) and Kedar played well, and Hardik’s innings was fantastic. And then MS finished off the way he does,” Kohli said. “It’s a good sign for us that our lower-order batting is firing.”