2016 began on a rather somber note for the limited-overs outfit of team India. Embarking on a tour of Australia, India didn’t have an ideal time in the ODI leg, as they were drubbed 4-1 in the five-match ODI series. However, just the final result doesn’t paint the complete portrait as despite losing the series, the Indians were competitive in all the games and just lost out on the key plots which made an overall impact.
The MS Dhoni-led outfit headed into the fifth ODI at Sydney under immense pressure. India were 4-0 down and desperately needed a victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground to salvage some pride before the 3 match T20I series.
Needing a massive 331 to win the game, the Indians got off to an absolute flying start thanks to the elegance of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan right at the top. After the chase was steadied, rookie Manish Pandey was entrusted with the role in the middle order. Pandey set off from the word go with his productive stroke making and rotated the strike well.
After losing Rohit Sharma for 99, in walked skipper MS Dhoni, who seemed to be a tad out of form. Nevertheless, Dhoni was content playing second fiddle to the well set Pandey. Needing 13 to win the game off the last over, the Australians didn’t do themselves any favor as seamer Mitchell Marsh bowled a wide on the very first ball.
The next ball, a low full toss, was dispatched for a six by the ever calm and composed Dhoni and with 6 needed off 5; it was India’s game to lose. The tide once again turned as Dhoni was caught on the very next ball, trying to finish off the game. However, Dhoni played a masterstroke, moments before being caught, as when the ball was travelling towards the fielder, he asked Pandey to cross his end, so that the latter retained strike.
The move reaped rich rewards as Pandey hit a delicate boundary on the subsequent delivery to bring up his maiden ODI century and to get India closer. With just 2 needed off 3, Pandey took the aerial route to finish the game for India and seal off a memorable chase.
The last over the finish and eventual victory completely motivated the Indians; as they seemed unstoppable in the three-match T20I series which followed and went on to create history by becoming the first side ever to whitewash Australia in their own backyard.
Catch the video of that delightful last over finish below.