Coulter-Nile, Maxwell and Short the architects of the win; Bumrah bowls a brilliant penultimate over but his efforts go in vain
Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson combined to score 14 off the final over as Australia snatched a dramatic three-wicket victory over India in the first T20 international. A capacity crowd at the ACA-VDCA stadium was treated to a remarkable game on Sunday as fortunes swung this way and that.
Chasing a far-from-imposing 127, the touring side appeared to be cruising towards the target, needing 29 off the last five overs with seven wickets in hand.
But D’Arcy Short was run out in silly fashion before Krunal Pandya bowled Ashton Turner as India glimpsed an opportunity. As the tension rose and Australia’s batsmen sweated, Jasprit Bumrah sent down a superb 19th over, taking two wickets and conceding only two runs. The home side seemed the favourite from that stage but Umesh Yadav was unable to prevent one last twist.
Australia began its reply poorly, slipping to five for two after Marcus Stoinis and Aaron Finch fell cheaply. But Glenn Maxwell soon took control. The Victorian is a delightful striker of the ball and he was on song here, attacking Umesh Yadav before launching towering sixes off Yuzvendra Chahal and Mayank Markande. When he fell for 56, the touring side was still firmly in charge but in T20 cricket, things can often unravel at break-neck speed.
Rahul is back!
Earlier, K.L. Rahul’s breezy 50 on his return to the side proved to be the top score of the Indian innings. The Karnataka batsman will have been relieved with his effort: he had endured a difficult tour of Australia, before his suspension forced an early flight home. Here, Rahul looked in fine form from the outset, opening alongside Rohit Sharma while India rested Shikhar Dhawan. He clipped Richardson off his hips before driving him through the covers. Adam Zampa was thumped down the pitch, and later deposited beyond the sight-screen.
At the other end, Rohit fell early, caught at short fine-leg trying to paddle-sweep Jason Behrendorff. Virat Kohli was involved in a lively 55-run stand for the second wicket with Rahul, a partnership broken when the captain was caught at long-on in his attempt to clobber Zampa.
Rishabh Pant was cheered to the crease, a sign of his stature as an entertainer with the bat, but his stay lasted all of five balls. He was run out for three, Behrendorff making a diving, one-handed stop at point before releasing the ball in a flash. Pant was a long way down the pitch.
When Rahul perished, caught at mid-off one ball after completing his half-century, India was still some distance away from achieving an imposing total. A big contribution would be needed in the final third of the innings, but there simply wouldn’t be any. Dinesh Karthik followed Rahul to the pavilion three balls later, Nathan Coulter-Nile uprooting middle-stump with one that moved in off the seam.
Krunal Pandya was dismissed for one, clumsily trying to heave the same bowler over the leg-side. Coulter-Nile finished with three for 26, just reward for his efforts on the evening. The Australian was also named the Man-of-the-Match.
India handed Markande his international debut, omitting Vijay Shankar from the side. The pitch would take turn, Kohli had felt at the toss, as he fielded three spinners. What this meant, however, was that Umesh walked in at eight: tails do not come much longer.
Cummins, who was excellent during his four-over spell of one for 19, swiftly accounted for the Vidarbha quick. From 76 for two at the end of the ninth over, India had slid to 109 for seven in the 17th. Even M.S. Dhoni could not help India mount a serious recovery: too much damage, it seemed, had already been done.
India: Rohit Sharma c Zampa b Behrendorff 5 (8b), K.L. Rahul c Finch b Coulter-Nile 50 (36b, 6x4, 1x6), Virat Kohli c Coulter-Nile b Zampa 24 (17b, 3x4), Rishabh Pant run out 3 (5b), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 29 (37b, 1x6), Dinesh Karthik b Coulter-Nile 1 (3b), Krunal Pandya c Maxwell b Coulter-Nile 1 (6b), Umesh Yadav lbw b Cummins 2 (4b), Yuzvendra Chahal (not out) 0 (4b); Extras (lb-2, w-9): 11; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 126.
Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Rohit, 2.3 overs), 2-69 (Kohli, 8.4), 3-80 (Pant, 9.6), 4-92 (Rahul 12.2), 5-94 (Karthik, 12.6), 6-100 (Krunal, 14.6), 7-109 (Umesh, 16.5).
Australia bowling: Behrendorff 3-0-16-1, Richardson 4-0-31-0, Coulter-Nile 4-0-26-3, Zampa 3-0-22-1, Cummins 4-0-19-1, Short 2-0-10-0.
Australia: D’Arcy Short run out 37 (37b, 5x4), Marcus Stoinis run out 1 (5b), Aaron Finch lbw b Bumrah 0 (1b), Glenn Maxwell c Rahul b Chahal 56 (43b, 6x4, 2x6), Peter Handscomb c Dhoni b Bumrah 13 (15b), Ashton Turner b Krunal 0 (5b), Nathan Coulter-Nile b Bumrah 4 (8b), Pat Cummins (not out) 7 (3b, 1x4), Jhye Richardson (not out) 7 (3b, 1x4); Extras (w-2): 2; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 127.
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Stoinis, 1.6), 2-5 (Finch, 2.1), 3-89 (Maxwell, 13.3), 4-101 (Short, 15.2), 5-102 (Turner, 16.2), 6-113 (Handscomb, 18.5), 7-113 (Coulter-Nile, 18.6).
India bowling: Bumrah 4-0-16-3, Chahal 4-0-28-1, Umesh 4-0-35-0, Krunal 4-0-17-1, Markande 4-0-31-0.
Australia won by three wickets off the last ball to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Next match: Feb. 27, Bengaluru.z.