On This Day in 2019: India were touring Australia in 2018-19. The T20I series was drawn but the visitors had recorded a historic first series win in the four-match Test series. They were keen to carry that momentum and win the ODI series as well. However, the hosts won the first match of the three-match series by 34 runs at the SCG. India bounced back registering a six-wicket win at the Adelaide Oval.
The iconic MCG was the venue for the series decider. Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to field first. Bhuvneshwar Kumar got the Australian openers – Alex Carey and Aaron Finch early but the hosts fought back through Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja who had taken the score to 100 in 23 overs. India needed a breakthrough.
The leg-spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal was their man! He got Marsh stumped and then induced a leading edge from Khawaja for a simple caught and bowled – Chahal had turned the match on its head with two wickets in an over – the 24th of the innings. The party had just begun. Chahal then foxed Marcus Stoinis with a peach of a leg break and had him caught at slip – Australia were reduced to 123 for 5 in the 30th. The leg sinner wasn’t done yet!
He returned to pick three more wickets – of Jhye Richardson (44th over), the innings’ highest-scorer, Peter Handscomb for 58 (46th over) and Adam Zampa (48th over) – in three successive overs. Chahal’s 6-42 in 10 overs restricted Australia to 230. Not only did he run through the Australian batting line-up but was also very restrictive not giving anything away. He bowled as many as 32 dot balls which meant that the batsmen did not score off a majority of the balls he delivered.
Chahal’s bowling figures in the match are the best bowling figures in an ODI in Australia by any bowler. Ajit Agarkar had also picked 6 wickets conceding 42 runs against Australia at the MCG in 2004 but had bowled 9.3 overs – making Chahal’s economy rate marginally better.
Virat Kohli (46 off 62 balls), MS Dhoni (87 not out in 114 balls) and Kedar Jadhav (61 not out in 57 balls) made sure that after a few initial hiccups, India, chased down the target fairly comfortably with 7 wickets in hand and 4 balls to spare.
India had won a rare bilateral ODI series in Australia and Yuzvendra Chahal had placed his name in the record books by giving a series-defining performance.