Rain is never a good sign for any cricket fan, but yesterday’s washout of the fourth ODI between India and Australia at Ranchi brought along some good news with it. India cannot lose its No 1 status in ODIs to Australia in this series.
Down 1-2 in the seven-match series, Australia needed to win the contest 6-1 to claim the hosts’ No 1 status. However, the heavy rain in skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s hometown, Ranchi ensured that cannot happen now.
Play was no more possible at the JSCA Stadium after the heavens opened up for the second time as India, chasing 296 for victory, began well and were on 27 off 4.1 overs with openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan unbeaten on nine and 14 respectively.
Around 6:15pm, just as India began the chase there was a light drizzle. But even as the umpires felt play could continue, the showers got heavier and eventually the players had to be called off the field.
The rain did stop briefly after an hour following which the groundstaff and heavy-duty super-soppers were called into action. The hour-long exercise however proved futile after the umpires finally decided to call off the tie after inspecting the ground around 8.30pm. The fifth ODI between the two sides will be played at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Saturday.
India had begun the chase in style with Dhawan slamming three boundaries for his 14 while Rohit added a fourth as the hosts seemed to be cruising at 6.48 runs per over before rains intervened for the second time in the day.
Earlier, a light shower had halted the game for around 30 minutes when Australia were 28 for two after 7.2 overs. Play later resumed and Australia, electing to bat, rode on a record 153-run partnership between George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell to post an impressive 295 for eight off their 50 overs.
Skipper Bailey made a 94-ball 98 that included seven fours and three sixes, while Maxwell scored a 77-ball 92, studded with six fours and five sixes.
The Indian bowling brigade that saw Jaydev Unadkat and Mohammad Shami replace Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneswar Kumar, began well, and at one stage had the Aussies reeling at 71 for four.
Shami in particular was very impressive. The West Bengal pacer took 3-42 off eight overs to trouble the visitors.
A Finch b Mohammed Shami 5
P Hughes c Dhoni b Mohd Shami 11
S Watson b Mohammed Shami 14
G Bailey c Sharma b V Kumar 98
A Voges lbw b Ashwin 7
G Maxwell lbw b V Kumar 92
B Haddin b Jadeja 3
J Faulkner not out 23
M Johnson st Dhoni b Ashwin 5
C McKay not out 7
Extras (lb7, w3) 10
Total (8 wickets, 50 overs) 295
Fall of wickets 1-5, 2-24, 3-32, 4-71, 5-224, 6-232, 7-238, 8-281
Jaydev Unadkat 6-0-31-0
Mohammed Shami 8-1-42-3
R Vinay Kumar 8-0-52-2
R Ashwin 9-0-57-2
Ravindra Jadeja 10-0-56-1
Yuvraj Singh 1-0-12-0
Suresh Raina 8-0-38-0
R Sharma not out 9
S Dhawan not out 14
Extras (b4) 4
Total (0 wickets, 4.1 overs) 27
Mitchell Johnson 2.1-0-10-0
Clint McKay 2-0-13-0