KL Rahul took up the wicketkeeping duties during the first ODI between India and Australia in Mumbai, and he made an impact by taking a stunning catch to dismiss Australian captain Steve Smith. With Rishabh Pant out of contention due to a car accident, Rahul has taken over the wicketkeeping responsibilities in ODIs. During the recently concluded Border Gavaskar Trophy 2023, KS Bharat was chosen by Rohit Sharma as the wicketkeeper. However, Rahul’s skills behind the stumps in the first ODI proved why he should be retained in the ODI side.
Edged and taken!@hardikpandya7 strikes and how good was that grab behind the stumps from @klrahul _
Steve Smith departs.
Watch his dismissal here __#INDvAUS @mastercardindia pic.twitter.com/yss3sj4N4z
— BCCI (@BCCI) March 17, 2023
Rahul’s performance with the bat in the Test series was not up to the mark, leading to him being dropped from the team for the final two Test matches. But his performance in the first ODI showed that he is determined to make a comeback. Though Ishan Kishan was also in India’s playing XI in Rohit’s absence, Rahul was entrusted with the wicketkeeping duties.
In the first over, Mohammed Siraj removed Travis Head to give India an early breakthrough, and soon after, Rahul had a chance to run out Smith, who had just come out to bat. Unfortunately, Rahul missed the opportunity. However, he redeemed himself with a stunning catch to dismiss Smith at 22, which helped India break a crucial partnership between Mitchell Marsh and the stand-in Australian captain.
Virat Kohli’s slashing four off Oshane Thomas?
MS Dhoni’s 89-metre maximum?
The #TeamIndia wicket-keeper’s incredible diving catch?
Which gets your vote for the @Nissan Play of the Day?
Have your say here: https://t.co/soGwNWH7eR pic.twitter.com/sPW1wqsrZX
— Bharat Yadav BJP __ (@yadavbharatbjp) June 27, 2019
Marsh and Smith had started to pick up runs quickly, which was frustrating for the Indian bowlers. However, Hardik Pandya provided India with a key breakthrough by dismissing Smith in the 13th over. Pandya bowled a fuller delivery, and Smith, instead of using his footwork, tried to cut the ball and gave away a healthy edge. Smith’s dismissal allowed India to put a brake on Australia’s innings, and Marsh completed his fifty shortly after Smith’s departure.
After returning from an injury, Marsh was promoted up the order after David Warner failed to recover from the injury he sustained in the Test series. Marsh looked in good touch, reaching his fifty in 51 balls, and helping Australia go past the 100-run mark at the Wankhede Stadium. However, he was dismissed at 81 due to Ravindra Jadeja’s excellent work.
Overall, KL Rahul’s performance behind the stumps and his stunning catch to dismiss Steve Smith were significant moments in India’s victory over Australia in the first ODI. His contribution was crucial in breaking the partnership between Smith and Marsh, which helped India restrict Australia to a modest total. Rahul’s display in the first ODI has certainly increased his chances of being retained as the wicketkeeper-batsman in the ODI side.