India vs Australia: Hardik Pandya's knock was game-changer for hosts, says Virat Kohli

Courtesy Pandya's blistering 66-ball 83 and MS Dhoni's 79 off 88 balls, India posted a competitive 281 for seven despite losing the top half for less than 100.

PTI, Sep, 18 2017

Chennai: Skipper Virat Kohli on Sunday said Hardik Pandya's blistering half-century at a crucial stage was the game-changer for India in the first ODI of the five-match series against Australia.

India beat Australia by 26 runs via Duckworth-Lewis Method in the rain-affected match to go 1-0 up in the series.

India's Hardik Pandya in action in the first ODI against Australia. AP

India's Hardik Pandya in action in the first ODI against Australia. AP

Courtesy Pandya's blistering 66-ball 83 and MS Dhoni's 79 off 88 balls, India posted a competitive 281 for seven despite losing the top half for less than 100 after opting to bat.

And Kohli said India once again proved how good their lower-middle was.

"We spoke at the toss that we wanted to put on a big score. We lost wickets but MS (Dhoni) and Kedar played well. Hardik and later MS finished it off like he does.

"Today was an example of how good the middle and lower order can be," he said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

"Hardik believes in himself, and his innings was the game-changer. He possesses all three skills (batting, bowling and fielding) equally and we are lucky to have him," Kohli added.

The India captain also complemented his bowlers for restricting Australia after the visitors were set a revised target of 164 off 21 overs in the rain-curtailed match.

"The bowlers were outstanding as well. It is a matter of giving players confidence. (Yuzvendra) Chahal is very brave and doesn't say no to any situation. Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) and (Jasprit) Bumrah were very clinical as were our bank bowlers," Kohli said.

"After the rain, we felt this was our best T20 attack. We can't have a more perfect combination."

Rival captain Steve Smith said they lost the plot after reducing India to 87 for five.

"Yeah, we got ourselves into a good position. We had them at 5 for 87 and let things off a bit," he said.

Smith admitted that the better side won. "We lost too many wickets in the middle. You can't control the weather. No complaints, we weren't good enough and we were outplayed by India," he said.

Published Date: Sep 18, 2017 | Updated Date: Sep 18, 2017



Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4493 125
2 South Africa 3767 111
3 England 4497 105
4 New Zealand 3114 97
5 Australia 3294 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 South Africa 6386 120
2 India 6379 120
3 Australia 5948 114
4 England 6156 114
5 New Zealand 5432 111
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 2843 124
2 New Zealand 1925 120
3 West Indies 2395 120
4 England 2029 119
5 India 2965 119