Charged by Virat Kohli’s flamboyant knock, a young bowling line-up powered India to a victory over Australia in the first T20 international at Adelaide.
Chasing a mammoth target of 189 runs, Australia’s batting line-up showed different shades of form on the crease. Aaron Finch (44) and David Warner (17) gave the innings a positive start. The Aussie line-up collapsed later with Steve Smith (21), Chris Lynn (17), Shane Watson (12) and James Faulkner (10) barely making it to double digits.
Indian spinners, Ravindra Jadeja (21/2) and Ravichandran Ashwin (28/2), rose to the occasion to give the men in blue a convincing win. Ashish Nehra (14/1), Jasprit Bumrah (23/3) and Hardik Pandya (37/2), assisted in the win as well with their pace assault on the Aussies.
On their special day, debutants – Pandya and Bumrah impressed. Bumrah’s assault kicked in early. Pandya, struggling for a short while, found his rhythm as the game progressed. Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra looked in perfect shape on their much awaited return to international cricket. Though Yuvraj couldn’t get a breakthrough with the ball, he bowled one over for 10 runs.
Earlier in the Indian innings, Kohli’s power-packed 90 runs carried India to a fighting total of 188. Indian vice skipper studded stars to the innings with remarkable two sixes and nine fours.Kohli recorded his highest score in the T20 format and along with Suresh Raina, scored 134 runs for the third wicket partnership.
Raina too contributed to the domination of the Australian bowling attack with his 41 runs off 34 balls. Devastating Indian opener Rohit Sharma made a quick fire 31 runs laced with four 4s and six.Throughout the innings, Aussie bowlers were seen hunting for crucial breakthroughs. Rohit Sharma, followed by Kohli and Raina, demoralized the Aussie bowlers by keeping the run rate staggeringly high.
The hosts handed Travis Head his debut, while Lynn, Watson and Shaun Tait returned to the international game. Death rider all-rounder, Shane Watson delivered to his reputation. Taking two wickets for 24 runs, he remained the most economical bowler in Aussie’s line-up. Rohit and Dhawan came as his early victims as they departed after an explosive start.
Brilliant 3rd-wicket partnership between Kohli and Raina reached 134 runs in 14.3 overs. The men in blue reached the 150 runs mark in the 18th over. Raina was finally bowled in the final over by James Faulkner (1/43). India limited over skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni marched to the crease, after Raina’s departure. He smashed a six and a four in the 3 balls he faced. Fireworks at the batting crease lifted the score to 188 runs as 28 runs came from the final two overs.
Akash Khanna | FYS