India sets Australia 353 to win in World Cup group game

LONDON (AP) — India set Australia 353 to win their Cricket World Cup match at the Oval, after belting 116 runs off the last 10 overs on Sunday.

An opening partnership of 127 between Shikhar Dhawan (117) and Rohit Sharma (57) gave India wickets in hand to have a late bash.

Virat Kohli and allrounder Hardik Pandya, promoted ahead of Lokesh Rahul, Kedar Jadhav, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the 38th over, took full advantage by combining for 81 runs off 55 deliveries.

Pandya hit three sixes in a 27-ball 48, Kohli was out for 82 off the penultimate ball as India racked up 352-5.

Pandya was dropped on the first ball he faced, when he edged behind Nathan Coulter-Nile and the ball glanced off Alex Carey's gloves diving to the right.

Sharma was dropped on 2 in the second over, a tough chance at midwicket as the ball went through Coulter-Nile's high right hand off Mitchell Starc's bowling.

Starc and Pat Cummins, who drew edges off the openers, restricted India to 41-0 in the first 10 overs, but India took control against the change bowlers.

Sharma became the fourth batsman to score 2,000 ODI runs against Australia, after Sachin Tendulkar (3,077 runs) and West Indies greats Desmond Haynes (2,262), and Viv Richards (2,187).

His and Dhawan's century stand was their 16th in ODIs, tied for second in history with Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden, and behind only Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar with 21.

Sharma, who scored an unbeaten century in India's opening win against South Africa, fell for 57 from 70 balls. He edged behind a Coulter-Nile riser in the 23rd over.

Dhawan, the aggressor in their partnership, continued imperiously.

He brought up his 17th ODI century, fourth against Australia, and third in the World Cup, on an overthrow.

Kohli's stumps at the non-striker's end were hit by a throw from Cummins. As the ball glanced away, Kohli quickly got back up and completed the single Dhawan needed. Then they had to wait until video confirmed Kohli was not run out.

As Dhawan celebrated in the 33rd over, he remained careful with his left hand. He'd been playing since the ninth over with his left thumb bandaged from being hit by a Cummins bouncer.

Dhawan was finally out in the 38th, holing out at deep midwicket. He left to a standing ovation from the ring of overwhelming blue shirts at the Oval.

When Kohli raised an easy 50th 50 in ODIs, the top three India batsmen scored 50-plus for only the second time at a World Cup. But that first time, against South Africa in 2011 in Nagpur, they lost.

Kohli appeared on course for a century, but Dhoni replaced Pandya and dominated the strike as he smashed 27 in 14 balls.

Dhoni was out to an outstanding caught-and-bowled dismissal by Marcus Stoinis, and Kohli was caught in the deep soon after. He'd won the toss, and his decision to bat first paid off.


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