India vs Australia, 1st T20I, Top Performances: Hardik Pandya's 71 off 30, Matthew Wade's 45 off 21 and Cameron Green's 61 off 30 & 1-46 are top three performances. Australia beat India by 4 wickets and lead series by 1-0.
Brief Scores: India 208/6 (Pandya 71*, Rahul 55, Ellis 3-30) lost to Australia 211-6 (Green 61, Wade 45*, Axar 3-17) by four wickets
Player of the Match: Cameron Green – 61 (30), 1-46 & 2 catches
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and 19th over nightmares, still a better horror story than Annabelle. Australia scored 57 runs off the final four overs in a run chase of a target of 209 runs, no less. India have now lost three out of the last four matches defending a total, and in all the three games, their death bowling has been clueless to say the least. On top of that, India dropped three catches on Tuesday, giving lives to Cameron Green, Steven Smith and Matthew Wade which summed up India’s night on the field.
Australia run down India’s 208 in 19.2 overs to go 1-0 up
A rejuvenated India with a fresh new jersey turned back the clock to the old times with the light blue colour as they walked on to take on the current T20 World Cup champions Australia in the first of a three-match T20I series at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, Chandigarh. The last time Australia and India played at Mohali was six years ago, where the famous duo of Mahi-Virat put on a masterclass run chase in a crucial league game of ICC World T20 2016 which was critical for India’s further prospects in that tournament.
Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to field first. The confident Finch announced at the toss itself that they would be experimenting with Cameron Green as an opener. The Singapore-born middle order batter, Tim David, was handed his debut cap for Australia. For India, Jasprit Bumrah didn’t make it to the playing eleven and Rishabh Pant was shown the bench.
India walked out to bat with a mission to address few issues before the start of the World Cup; low strike rate of the openers for one is a recurrent problem for which they are trying to find a solution, apart from which they are also facing an issue in fitting in a sixth bowler in the absence of premier all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, and employing a left-hander in the middle order.
The start for India was full of intent, Rohit Sharma took on the bowlers hitting two sixes in his initial eight deliveries before being dismissed by his nemesis of sorts, Josh Hazlewood, against whom Rohit has a strike rate of just 55.6 in T20I cricket. India’s number 3, Virat Kohli wasn’t able to contribute much as he was dismissed early for a personal score of 2. KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav then stitched a beautiful 68-run partnership which took the attack to the bowlers.
They took India from 35-2 to 103 at the end of the 12th over. KL Rahul who was under the scanner for his slow strike rate showed pure intent to strike the cricket ball as far as possible and completed his well compiled half-century off just 32 deliveries. The 360-degree Suryakumar showed his array of shots dismantled the Aussies with four massive sixes in his innings of 46 (25).
What followed next was the “Hardik Pandya” show of bottom hand clean hitting. A quick fire 71* (30) from Hardik helped India score 89 runs in the final seven overs to post a total of 208-6. This was also India’s highest ever T20I score against Australia.
Chasing 208, Australia were off to the best possible start scoring a six off the very first delivery. Cameron Green then took Umesh Yadav to the cleaners by scoring four back-to-back boundaries off his very first over. A fast and steady 70-run stand between Green and Steven Smith took Australia to 109-2 in 10 overs. India were lucky to bounce back in the match with two streaky wickets in a span of three deliveries, as Smith and Glenn Maxwell walked backed to the pavilion. Yadav has dismissed Maxwell thrice in domestic T20 and this was the first time ever he dismissed Maxwell in an international T20I innings. A 30-ball 62 run partnership between debutant Tim David and Matthew Wade clobbered India’s bowlers to seal the first match of the series with four deliveries to spare.
Let’s scan the top three performances from the first T20I between India and Australia.
Hardik “Hard-hitting” Pandya trashed the Aussies all around the park with a 30-ball 71*
Hardik Pandya walked into bat at the end of the 12th over with India at 103-3. With eight overs remaining, India were looking at anything near 180-190, but the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 winning Gujarat Titans (GT) captain, Pandya had some different ideas. Hitting a six off the fourth delivery of his innings, Hardik looked in good touch. Cameron Green bowled a good length delivery, but those quick wrists came into play as Pandya whipped that delivery for a flat six over deep mid-wicket.
The Aussies were quick to set strategic fields blocking Pandya’s six hitting zones, but the new and mature Pandya 2.0 after IPL 2022 was one inch smarter. Anticipating with the cover fielders and a packed leg side field, the line was always going to be full and outside off, but Pandya toyed with Australia’s bowlers by square cutting and the straight hits using a strong bottom hand. A brilliant square cut off Nathan Ellis helped Pandya bring his second T20I fifty.
Pandya’s best was saved for the final over bowled by Green, after he refused to take a single off the second delivery and backed himself to play the final four deliveries. After a short delivery bowled in the third ball of the over, Hardik was sitting on the back foot since yesterday as he anticipated another short one which was in his slot and with a flat batted shot, dismissed it for a six over deep mid-wicket. After two short balls, it was time for a fuller one, and Hardik was ready without any second invitations. He lofted it for another six with almost zero follow through which comfortably cleared the long on boundary and was probably the shot of the innings. Hardik completed the formalities by hitting a hattrick of sixes on the final delivery of the innings to help India post a mammoth 208-6. Hardik’s innings was more about playing with the field, anticipating what the bowler is trying to bowl and finishing it with his unimaginable power.
Cameron Green sent India packing with a 30-ball 61
Cameron Green started the massive run chase with 4, 4, 4 and 4, to welcome Umesh Yadav back to international cricket. After six overs, Australia were 60-1, needing another 148 runs in 14 overs. It was Cameron Green’s night as he took every India bowler by surprise. Green demolished Yuzvendra Chahal for 19 runs in the seventh over and shattered India’s hopes of coming back into the match. With a massive six over wide long on off Axar Patel, Green brought up his fifty and that too in his first ever innings as an Australia opener. Green punished every India bowler who walked into bowl with his sheer power-hitting ability and left India looking for options in the field.
This carnage of 61 runs off just 30 balls at a strike rate of 203.33 came after some poor bowling by him in the first innings where he gave 21 runs off his final over. Though Green picked up a wicket, he also gave 46 runs in his three overs. Quickly switching from bowling gears to batting gears to open the innings in a span of 20 minutes, Green was quick to leave the bowling effort in the history books and came out smacking with the bat.
Matthew Wade’s 45 off just 21 deliveries, schooled everyone with a ‘finishing masterclass’
Matthew Wade came into bat when Australia needed another 60 runs off the last five overs. It looked like the match was finally coming into India’s grasp after a flurry of back-to-back wickets. With a required rate of 12 runs per over, Wade was cool as “the protoplanetary Boomerang Nebula”.
Wade first took on Bhuvneshwar Kumar for two fours in the 17th over to get the ball rolling. With 40 runs needed off the last three overs, Harshal Patel who was back from hospital, was taken to the cleaners this time by Wade. Wade tonked a loose slower short delivery for a six off the very first ball of the 18th over after which he was dropped on the very next delivery by the bowler himself in his follow through. A massive pull shot of the fifth delivery deposited the ball deep into the stands helping Australia score 22 runs off the 18th over which took the game mentally away from India. Wade then put the final nail in the coffin, scoring three back-to-back fours off Bhuvneshwar Kumar to continue India’s 19th over nightmares.
What’s to Come
India will look to bounce back and stay alive in the series on September 23 in the second game of this short series scheduled to be held at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Nagpur.