Team India on Friday (December 4) started the T20I series on a high note after winning the thrilling first T20I match against Australia by 11 runs. Earlier, visitors had a wobbling start, but Ravindra Jadeja’s 23-ball 44 rescue innings helped India to post 161 runs. And, without Jasprit Bumrah in the playing XI, India defended the total as Australia managed 150 for seven in 20 allotted overs.
Asked to bat first, Shikhar Dhawan lost his wicket in the third over after Mitchell Starc bowled a beauty to take the bails off. Already having a slow start, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul started making amends, but in the seventh over, the captain lost his wicket to Mitchell Swepson, who was playing only his second T20I.
Virat Kohli was out after scoring just nine runs off nine balls, but Sanju Samson didn’t let the pressure take the toll on him. The wicketkeeper-batsman hit some eye-soothing sixes to accelerate the innings. But he fell for a slower ball off Moses Henriques in the 12th over. Samson departed after amassing 23 runs off 15 balls.
In the next two consecutive overs, Manish Pandey and KL Rahul were sent back to the hut. Virat Kohli’s deputy played a good knock off 51 runs off 40 balls, but India was in trouble because their half team was sent back in the pavilion.
Ravindra Jadeja becomes India’s hero:
The responsibility again fell on the shoulders of Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya, who had built an outstanding partnership in the last ODI to take the game home. They started taking single and double to put pressure but could not recreate the Canberra partnership.
In the 17th over, Hardik Pandya was given life, but in the very next ball off Henriques, he gave an easy catch to Steven Smith. India was down to 114 for 6. But Ravindra Jadeja took the game on his hand to push India’s score past 160. He got better off Josh Hazlewood striking him three fours and one six in the penultimate over.
Washington Sundar, who came after Hardik departed, lost his wicket in the 20th over but Jadeja scored two boundaries to give Australia 162 runs target.
But in unfortunate events, Jadeja was replaced with Yuzvendra Chahal as the concussion substitute. The all-rounder was hit on the helmet in Mitchell Starc’s last over. But the inclusion of Chahal was not going to hurt Jadeja’s absence.
Australia’s fiery start ended up in losing cause:
Aaron Finch and D’Arcy Short started hitting from the word go. They were brutal against Deepak Chahar, who was playing the first T20I after over a year. Washington Sundar was also hit for boundaries in his two overs in powerplays.
Finch and Short marched without loss in the powerplay and built 53 runs partnership. But their alliance was supported by India’s misfielding. Virat Kohli dropped a dolly which he got from D’Arcy while Manish Pandey dropped the tough catch of Finch. But in the eighth over, the concussion substitute Chahal broke the daunting partnership as he picked Australia’s captain’s wicket. The spinner then got Steve Smith’s wicket as Hardik Pandya picked a stunning catch.
In the very next two overs, T Natarajan turned the table for India. He got the crucial wickets of Glenn Maxwell and D’Arcy Short. The allrounder was given LBW after India reviewed the on-field decision. From there, the visitors were back in the game.
Moses Henriques (30 runs off 20 balls) tried to steal the win from India, but Deepak Chahar notched his wicket. Australia’s lower-order fell like a heap of cards. T Natarajan’s perfect yorker sent Mitchell Starc while Chahal picked Matthew Wade’s wicket. At last, Australia fell 11 runs short while India has gained the lead.