Arguably one of the most feared openers in limited-overs cricket, Shikhar Dhawan has proved to be a vital cog for India while batting at the top in international cricket. The left-handed batsman, alongside Rohit Sharma, also forges a deadly opening pair that is more than capable of giving the opposition bowlers a run for their money.
But, for someone who is bestowed with the responsibility of getting his team to a flying start, Dhawan has struggled to get going, let alone aid Team India with consistent knocks. If his last five One-Day International (ODI innings read: 1, 21, 0, 6 and 13, the fact that he hasn't scored a hundred in the 50-over format after 17 matches and nearly six months, goes on to highlight his misery.
And, as India continue to find the right team balance ahead of the ICC World Cup, Dhawan's dip in form was a major concern for the selectors. In fact, Dhawan's inconsistency with the willow earned him a lot of flak and saw him getting demoted from an A-plus (Rs 7 cr) contract to an A (Rs 5 cr) grade category in the players' annual contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
However, on 10th March, none of those things mattered as the left-handed batsman played one the best ODI knocks of his career. The 33-year-old smashed a blistering 143 runs off just 115 balls, including 18 fours and three sixes to power India to a formidable total of 358 runs during 4th ODI against Australia. It was Dhawan's 16th ODI hundred and third (in the 50-over format) against the Aussies.
For someone who scored his last ODI hundred during the 2018 Asia Cup last September, Dhawan looked in ominous form right from the start as he hammered the Australian bowlers all around the park with relative ease. He also stitched a mammoth 193-run opening partnership with Rohit who missed out on a potential ton by a mere five runs.
Dhawan was eventually bowled by Pat Cummins in the 38th over after his effort to heave the ball over midwicket failed miserably. Following his dismissal, the likes of Rishabh Pant (36), KL Rahul (26) and Vijay Shankar (26) all played a crucial role in ensuring India didn't lose momentum later in the match.
While Dhawan would surely rue missing out on his 150, the Indian opener strokeful innings and return to form had the Indian fans lauding his effort.
So happy for Shikhar Dhawan! He is a fantastic one day batsman and now he has got a big score under his belt. And yes, well done to the selectors for picking him this game. ðð#INDvAUS— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) March 10, 2019
This is simply sensational striking from Shikhar Dhawan. Only seeing the gaps, oblivious to the presence of fielders— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 10, 2019
Dhawan and Mohali. The story continues. Much needed century.... ðð #IndvAus— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) March 10, 2019
Dhawan's preferred cricket:
*Tests at Galle
*Australia at Mohali #AUSvIND
Century for @SDhawan25. Relief and joy for him, team managment and selectors— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) March 10, 2019
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