India’s preparations for the upcoming World Cup in 2023 appear to be progressing smoothly. Despite the absence of five key players, the Indian cricket team achieved a remarkable victory over Australia, who were also missing several of their star players.

In the 1st ODI held at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, India clinched victory by a margin of 5 wickets, successfully chasing down the target of 277 runs with 8 balls to spare.

The standout performer of the match was Mohammed Shami, who was awarded the Man of the Match for his exceptional 5-wicket haul. This achievement marked only his second instance of taking five wickets in an ODI match, and it was his first in four years.

In a game where only one Australian batsman, David Warner, managed to score a half-century, with a top score of 52 runs, Shami’s five-wicket haul played a pivotal role in limiting Australia to a total of 277 runs. Despite what appeared to be a favorable batting pitch, the other Australian batsmen got off to promising starts but struggled to convert them into substantial scores.

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India’s innings got off to a strong start, with Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad both achieving half-centuries and appearing comfortable under the stadium lights. Gaikwad contributed 71 runs off 77 balls, while Gill scored 74 runs off 63 balls. However, after their impressive 142-run opening partnership was broken, India faced a brief period of uncertainty, slipping to 185/4.

However, the uncertainty was short-lived, as Suryakumar Yadav and stand-in captain KL Rahul steadied the ship with their partnership of 80 runs off 85 balls. This half-century for Suryakumar marked his third in ODIs and his first since February 2022. KL Rahul’s consistent performances since his return in the Asia Cup have been a significant asset to the team.

It’s worth noting that the match also sparked a flurry of entertaining memes throughout the day, coinciding with India’s rise to the number 1 ranking in ODI cricket, displacing Pakistan from the top spot.

Following his outstanding performance, Man of the Match Shami shared his thoughts, saying, “It depends on the captain and the game situation, but despite the heat, you feel like bowling 4-5 overs with the new ball. I enjoyed the wicket of Marsh; that’s a different feeling when you get the outside edge, and when you control your swing nicely. It was important to hit the right lengths on this wicket, either at full pace or go slow, but bowling the right lengths were key. We’ve played together for a long time, so we know what needs to be done. Always enjoy when we bowl well in tandem like this.”

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