Captain Kohli scored a fine 104 but it was Dhoni who remained at the crease until the end to take the team past the finish line. Set a target of 299, Kohli got out in the 44th over with the score on 242 but Dhoni (55 from 54 balls) stayed calm and together with a spirited Dinesh Karthik (25 from 14) ended the contest by hitting the first ball of the final over bowled by Jason Behrendorff for a six. A quick single the next ball secured victory and leveled the series 1-1.
“Tonight was an MS (Dhoni) classic,” Kohli said. “He takes the game until the end, when only he knows what’s going on in his mind, and he backs himself to hit those big shots at the end.
“And hats off to Dinesh too, he came in and took the pressure off him.”
Kohli looked like taking the team to victory once again in a high-scoring chase before he holed out to Glenn Maxwell at deep mid-wicket to end on 104 off 112 balls. 37-year-old Dhoni, clearly struggling in 43 degree Celsius heat after keeping for 50 overs, needed treatment from the physio to stay on his feet and hit the decisive blow down the ground in the final over to keep the series alive.
Earlier, Australia posted 298-9 thanks a classy 131 off 123 balls from Shaun Marsh. Marsh smashed 11 fours and three sixes, scoring his seventh ODI century as the hosts asked India to field first in temperatures that were barely fit for competitive sport.
India did well to restrict Australia’s scoring at the death as Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami gave nothing away.
The two together took four for 17 in the last 18 balls with Kumar taking the wickets of Marsh and Glenn Maxwell. Maxwell made an attacking 48 off 37 balls at No.7.
“When you come up like a batting side against India, you know you have to get wickets regularly, and we ran into that man Dhoni as well,” Australia skipper Aaron Finch said.
“Credit to India, they played well. We played well as well, it was a good game of cricket.”
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