Choice of game
An India-Australia clash generates a fair amount of buzz and I didn't want to miss out on witnessing the match live at the Eden Gardens. There's always immense pleasure in watching a contest with a packed house at one of the most renowned stadiums in the country.
Virat Kohli's men have simply been stupendous in limited-overs cricket and have also been able to roll their oppositions over without much fuss. On the other hand, Eden Gardens hasn't been a happy hunting ground for India in ODIs as they have lost quite a few games at the iconic venue. However, I still prayed for them to dictate terms to the visitors and register their second victory of the series.
In the days leading up to the match, it rained cats and dogs in Kolkata. During the Indian innings, the clouds and the sun seemed to play hide and seek way too often.
Dark clouds hovered over the stadium for the entire length of the innings when India batted. It rained eventually, but thankfully it wasn't menacing enough to force a reduction in overs.
Kuldeep Yadav's googly to dismiss Patrick Cummins, which fetched him the hat-trick. After Kuldeep got rid of Matthew Wade and Ashton Agar off consecutive deliveries, everyone waited in anticipation of what he would dish out in his hat-trick delivery.
The left-arm wristspinner bowled a wrong'un to Cummins. The batsman pushed tentatively at the ball, more in hope than with conviction, and it took the outside edge of his willow.
One thing I'd have changed
Virat Kohli's dismissal, against the run of play, was the only thing I would have liked to change in the game. The pitch wasn't a batsman's paradise, but Kohli made batting look extremely easy. He blended caution with aggression and hardly played any extravagant stroke, which could have led to his dismissal.
Every shot he played had a stamp of authority on it and he hardly looked out of touch during the course of his knock. It's unfortunate that after doing the hard yards, the Indian skipper missed out on the three-figure mark.
It wasn't a full house at the Eden Gardens, but it didn't affect the decibel-levels. The atmosphere was absolutely electric and so was the crowd. There wasn't any dearth of enthusiasm in cheering for their favourite team.
Over the past few years, several comparisons have been drawn between Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli. However, this time around another member of the Indian cricket team has been compared to the Master Blaster.
An Indian fan, sitting on the row behind me, commented that Kedar Jadhav is somewhat similar to Tendulkar. It was a statement which left me completely perplexed as I had absolutely no idea of the reasons behind the comment.
Face-off you relished
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah bowled exceptionally well in the first ten overs. While Kumar nipped out the wickets of David Warner and Hilton Cartwright, Bumrah bowled with venom and ferocity to maintain the pressure from the other end.
However, Steven Smith and Travis Head weathered the storm and didn't allow the Indian opening bowlers to get under their skins. An array of streaky boundaries flowed and they eventually survived the new-ball bursts from Kumar and Bumrah.
Shot of the day
Marcus Stoinis' six on the leg-side off Jasprit Bumrah's bowling was the shot of the day for me. Bumrah is an out-and-out fast bowler and clearing the boundary off his bowling is not a walk in the park. Bumrah went for an attempted yorker, but it went horribly wrong for him. It turned out to be a full-toss on the pads. Stoinis made a proper connection and the ball cleared the ropes by a fair distance for a flat six.
Marks out of 10
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