The slot-clinching victory came against Simon Katich’s Perth Scorchers and was a given as early as when the Australian team was bundled out for 119 after Rahul Dravid sent them in. Kevon Cooper (4/18) assumed the role of the enforcer, but no enforcing was required as such, so prone were Perth’s batsmen to giving it all away.
The visitors did give themselves a chance – a faint one at that – by bowling Dravid for a duck in the first over of the chase. But the target was too little for a packed batting order, although the way young Ajinkya Rahane (62, 53b) and Sanju Samson (50, 42b) went about their business would have gratified the home team.
Rahane’s knock was particularly satisfying since the batsman had been looking for runs in the previous few matches. That he got some under his belt here augurs well for him in the knockout stages of the competition, what with India hosting Australia for seven ODIs in a fortnight’s time.
Samson gave more evidence of his growing maturity, never once resorting to an uncalled shot, nor allowing the middling asking rate to ever approach the danger mark. The pair added an unbroken 120 for the second wicket in 15.5 overs, as victory was realised with 21 balls to spare.
It was an ill-fated innings that the Scorchers embarked on after they were sent in. From 62 for two they collapsed to 119 all out, as Cooper came to the fore with four wickets – including two in one over. Cooper was also economical, giving away just 18 in his four, and was supported by the 41-year-old leg-spinner Pravin Tambe (2/17), who is having one heck of a tournament, and left-arm fast bowler James Faulkner (2/15).
By the end of the first innings, it was all over but for the shouting. And even the rattling of Dravid’s timber couldn’t stop the inevitable. Scorchers remained without a win to their name, their best result a rain-induced no-result at Ahmedabad.