Australia beat India in the opening T20I match in Mohali to take a crucial 0-1 lead in the three-match series. India posted a mammoth total of 208 runs after the big fifties from KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya. But bowlers struggled to defend the total as the visitors reached the target with four wickets and four balls remaining.
Indian captain Rohit Sharma lost the toss and was invited to bat first. The star pacer Jasprit Bumrah was a surprise absentee from India’s starting eleven. Australian pacers started well by dismissing star batter Rohit and Virat Kohli within the first few overs. But under-pressure opener KL Rahul smashed 55 runs off 35 balls to keep India in the match.
Suryakumar Yadav, playing in the number four position, dominated the middle overs with a crucial 46-run knock. Hardik Pandya stole the show in the death overs with his finishing skills. He smashed unbeaten 71 runs off 30 balls with five big sixes, including three on the last three deliveries of the innings, to guide India to a big 208/6 total.
Australia started well with a quick 39-run partnership for the first wicket. Axar Patel gave India the opening they needed with Aaron Finch’s wicket. But Cameron White smashed 61 runs off just 30 balls to keep Australia in control of the match. Indian bowlers impressed after the drinks break with three wickets but Australian finishers Matthew Wade and Tim David dominated the death overs to snatch away a win from India. For India, Axar Patel took three wickets but Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel proved costly with no wickets.
Top performers of the match:
Australian wicketkeeper over-shadowed Hardik Pandya’s knock with his match-winning 45 runs off just 21 balls cameo. Indian bowlers made a great comeback after the drinks and were favourites to win the game. Australia needed 55 runs off the last four overs with Wade and Tim David at the crease. Wade took the charge with two sixes to Harshal in the 18th over and three consecutive fours to Bhuvneshwar in the 19th over to guide visitors to a big win.
The 23-year-old all-rounder, playing his only second T20I, conceded 46 runs in his three-over spell. He took a big wicket of Suryakumar but was smashed by three consecutive sixes in inning’s last three deliveries. But Green was excellent with the bat while opening the innings for the visitors. He smashed 61 runs off 30 balls at an impressive strike rate of 203.33 to give Australia a dominating start.
What’s next for both sides?
Both teams will travel to Nagpur to face each other in the second T20I match at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium on Friday (September 23).