Indian cricketers faced quite a bit of flack in their recent limited-overs expeditions for their on-field catching but if the performance at Rajkot is anything to go by then it does seem that things are taking an upward curve. Displaying athleticism and quick movement at par with some of the best in the world, Manish Pandey and KL Rahul showed why they are considered among the best in the game.
Defending a target of 341 against Australia, India were a livewire unit as first it was Pandey, who plucked out a one-handed stunner to send David Warner to the stands. On a widish delivery by Mohammed Shami, the Aussie opener cleared his front leg to slash it over the off-side, but he made the mistake of hitting it close to Pandey. The Karnataka cricketer jumped up near cover-point and grabbed it with his right hand as the batsman stood in disbelief before eventually making the walk back.
Next, it was Rahul who produced some smart work behind the stumps and lightning-quick hands to remove the bails and dismiss Australia captain Aaron Finch.
Finch’s back foot was on the line by the looks of it and a zoomer showed that there was nothing behind the line.
Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan led from the front to help India reach a commanding total of 340/6 against Australia.
While Dhawan added 81 for the opening stand with Rohit Sharma (42), who would regret this missed opportunity on a batting belter after getting set, the southpaw also had a vital 103-run stand with Kohli for the second wicket.
The Kohli-Rahul 78-run partnership off 10.3 overs was also pivotal as it helped the latter to launch a final assault during the end overs.
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