We witnessed another crackerjack of an encounter between India and Australia which went all down to the wire, and one will have to say that in the end, it was team Australia who held their nerves and upstaged the host to take a 1-0 lead in a two-match T20I series. The first game was held at the Visakhapatnam and the pitch had a few cracks. It was expected that it will assist the spinner, seeing that, India played Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Mayank Markande. The toss fell in favour of Australian skipper Aaron Finch, who asked the opposition to have a bat first.
The team management and the skipper chose to play KL Rahul ahead of the regular opener Shikhar Dhawan. With this, India’s two openers were out in the middle in form of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma. However, team India lost the vice-captain Rohit Sharma early in the innings, while he tried to play a scoop to Jason Behrendorff which went straight into the hands of Adam Zampa.
His departure led skipper Kohli to the middle, who along with in-form KL Rahul managed to register a partnership of over 50 runs before the former departed. Virat tried to go down the track to Adam Zampa, but didn’t time it to perfection, eventually resulting in his wicket.
As Virat got out, India saw themselves in a little trouble as the wickets kept tumbling. In no time the scorecard looked 109 runs for the loss of seven wickets. However, with a contribution here and there, India managed to put 126 runs on the board.
KL Rahul’s innings was the only good thing for India as he registered his fifth fifty in T20 Internationals. For Australia, Nathan Coulter-Nile was the pick of the bowlers. Nathan picked 3 wickets for 26 runs in his quota of 4 overs.
In reply, Australia sent in form Marcus Stoinis and D Arcy Short to open the innings. Earlier to this series, the duo did exceedingly well for their respective franchises in Big Bash League (BBL). However, on this occasion, the communication between two players wasn’t up there and Stoinis had to pay the price.
Stoinis departure led Finch to the middle, who was immediately sent back by India spearhead Jasprit Bumrah. However, once Finch was out, the equation which was expected to daunt Australia, instead of haunted India as both Glenn Maxwell and D Arcy shot hammered opposition bowlers all around the park.
The way Maxwell and Short were batting, it looked like that match will end earlier to what one would expect. But cricket is a funny game, things happen when you least expect them to happen.
Kohli once again introduced Chahal into the attack, who gave the ball a little more flight which made Maxwell chase the delivery, and unfortunately for Maxwell, he couldn’t time it and lofted an untimed shot towards long on. Rahul completed the catch and India team started to believe once again.
The wickets continue to tumble and Australia saw themselves 113 runs for the loss of 7 wickets at the end of 19th over.
With this, Australia required 14 runs off the last over, and with two tail-enders at the crease, almost every cricket pundit thought India will win.
However, cricket had some other story to tell as Australia managed to pull off a last-ball win. The next game is scheduled to play at M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru on 27th February. It will be interesting to see if Men in Blue can come back strongly and level the series up.
India: 126/7 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 50; Nathan Coulter-Nile 3/26)
Australia: 127/7 in 20 overs (Glenn Maxwell 56; Jasprit Bumrah 3/16)