Vijay Shankar picked up two wickets in the final over as India clinched the Nagpur ODI by eight runs against Australia. (Image credit: Twitter)
The India vs Australia clash at the VCA stadium in Jamtha was heading for a tense finish. Marcus Stoinis had scored a magnificent fifty and Australia needed 11 runs off the final over with two wickets in hand. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami had bowled out and Virat Kohli had the option of bowling either Kedar Jadhav or Vijay Shankar in the final over. Shankar already had a tough night, conceding 13 runs in his only over that he had bowled and the pressure was immense. However, the Tamil Nadu all-rounder repaid the faith shown by Kohli in grand style by trapping Stoinis LBW for 52 with a length ball and the batsman could not overturn the decision on review. With Adam Zampa taking two runs on the second ball, the equation boiled down to nine runs off four balls. Shankar held his nerve and bowled a full and straight delivery which bowled Zampa and India became the second team after Australia to win 500 ODIs as they took a 2-0 lead in the five-match series with this eight-wicket win.
Speaking after the end of the match, Kohli revealed that the decision to bowl Shankar in the final over was made after consultations with MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma. “He (Shankar) just put the ball in the right areas. He showed great composure with both bat and the ball; a good game for him. Both are experienced, it's always nice to speak them. Rohit is the vice-captain and MS has been there for a long time. These guys watch the game so keenly,” Kohli said in the post-match presentation.
In Kohli's absence, Rohit has stepped up to lead the Indian cricket team and he has had tremendous success. He won the Nidahas Trophy 2018 Twenty20 tri-series while he led India in the two matches in New Zealand. Rohit also won the Asia Cup 2018 trophy by defeating Pakistan in the final. On the other hand, Dhoni has played a vital role when it comes to strategy and planning. Behind the wickets, Dhoni has been superb especially when it comes to stumpings, catches and the ability to take the DRS correctly.
Kohli's revelation that he took the help of Dhoni and Rohit won him plenty of plaudits for his honesty on social media. On the other hand, many Indian fans stated the obvious that Kohli's captaincy is propped up the decisions made by Dhoni and Rohit. The fact that Dhoni has transitioned to a role of a mentor in the side has given Kohli's side a massive boost heading into the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup which will begin on May 30.
India's next match will be at the JSCA stadium in Ranchi on March 8 and this could potentially be the final international match for Dhoni at his home ground. India lead the five-match series 2-0 and a win in Ranchi will give them their fourth straight series win over Australia at home.