Virat Kohli-led India suffered a 66-run defeat against hosts Australia in the first ODI at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Friday. While hunting a colossal 374-run total, the Indian batting unit ran out of steam, especially after the departure of Hardik Pandya, who made a top-class 90 to keep his side in the game. Wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals as India managed to post just 308/8 on the scoreboard.
Hardik (90) and Shikhar Dhawan (74) tried saving India's sinking ship after a lacklustre show by the top-order. The duo stitched 128 for the fifth wicket but it wasn't enough to steer the Men in Blue past the finishing line. Eyeing to level the three-match series 1-1, Kohli's men will now take on Australia in the second ODI on Sunday.
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Batting first, the hosts, led by centuries from skipper Aaron Finch and Steve Smith, looked in sublime touch against a hapless Indian bowling unit. While Finch scored 114 off 124, Smith gathered a quick-fire 66-ball 105 to boost his side's run-flow. David Warner's fifty at the top and Glenn Maxwell's carnage also left Indian bowlers gasping for breath upon their return to international cricket post Covid-19 hiatus.
Following India's defeat in the first ODI, former West Indies pacer Michael Holding has said that skipper Kohli needs someone like MS Dhoni in his artillery, especially while chasing totals.
"India has some good players but one thing I know for sure is that Kohli's team will struggle with the loss of MS Dhoni. As we know when Dhoni used to come to bat midway, he used to take control of the chase.
"India have chased so well in the past with Dhoni in the team and they have never been afraid to win the toss and insert the opposition because they know what Dhoni is capable of. This batting lineup that they have got is still very talented, we saw some talented players and fantastic strokeplay. But they still need a player like Dhoni. Not just Dhoni's skills but his strength of character," said Holding on his YouTube channel.
"We never see MS Dhoni panicking at any stage while India are chasing. He usually paces that chase so well because he knows his ability and he knows how to go about the chase. Whoever is batting with him, he is always talking with them and helping them. Fantastic batting lineup, but MS Dhoni was a special man with the bat in the run-chase," he further said.