Cameron Green, Matthew Wade shine as Australia thrash India by 4 wickets in high-scoring T20I thriller at Mohali
With the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 less than a month away, the Indian team’s problem with bowling particularly in the death overs came to the fore once again when Australia successfully chased a target in excess of 200 to take a 1-0 lead in the ongoing three match series on Tuesday night.
Despite half-centuries from Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul and a spectacular 46 from Suryakumar Yadav, Indian bowlers failed to contain the opposition batsmen who adopted an aggressive approach right from the first ball in a steep chase to finish the game with 4 balls to spare and 4 wickets left in the hand.
Despite Australia’s stunning fightback with the bat, the Indian team did have the game tilting toward their side when 40 more runs were needed off the last 3 overs.
However, India’s death overs specialist Harshal Patel was clobbered for no less than 3 sixes in the 18th over — two from Matthew Wade and one from Tim David — as he gave away 22 runs to bring the equation down to 18 needed from just 12 balls.
India’s dependable Bhuvneshwar Kumar was once again trusted with the job to break Australia’s flow, despite being unsuccessful against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup which led to India’s exit from the competition.
After a quiet start to the over, Bhuvneshwar Kumar conceded 3 boundaries to end up giving away 16 runs, which left Australia within a touching distance from a famous win.
Australia’s young and promising all-rounder Cameron Green was the star for the visiting side. Green, promoted to open alongside captain Aaron Finch for the first time, responded by scoring 61 from just 30 balls with 8 boundaries and 4 sixes to anchor the chase.
While he had not batted at this position in international cricket before, the start was indeed an incredible one for Cameron Green who hammered India’s senior bowler Umesh Yadav for 4 consecutive boundaries to get quickly off the blocks.
While Cameron Green held one end for Australia, the likes of Steve Smith (35), Josh Inglis, Tim David and Matthew Wade in particular provided the finishing touches to what turned out to be a one-sided chase for the visiting side.
Josh Inglis made rapid 17 from 10 balls with 3 boundaries to turn the tide back in the favour of Australia after they had lost a couple of wickets in quick succession.
While Tim David curbed his aggressive intent to hold on to one end, Matthew Wade joined later on and displayed aggressive intent.
The left-handed Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade finished with 45 not out from just 21 balls with 6 boundaries and 2 sixes to help his side take a vital 1-0 lead in a contest in which they outplayed at least at the halfway stage.
The under-pressure Indian batsmen came out all guns blazing on Tuesday night to score 208/6, a score which was possibly due to a career-best 71 not out from Hardik Pandya. The Indian all-rounder smacked 5 sixes and 7 boundaries to make 71 not out from just 30 balls, propelling his team past the 200-run mark.
Before that, Rohit Sharma (11) and Virat Kohli (2) could not make an impact but KL Rahul displayed a spectacular array of shots all over the ground to stroke his way to 55 from 35 balls with 4 boundaries and 3 sixes to his credit.
He was matched up well by Suryakumar Yadav, who made 46 from 25 balls with 4 sixes and 2 boundaries. Suryakumar Yadav looked set for a big score and it was unfortunate that he missed his half-century by just 4 runs on Tuesday night.
For Australia, Josh Hazlewood took 2/39 from his four overs while Nathan Ellis was pick among the bowlers, returning with 4-0-30-3. In the second half of the game, Akshar Patel was super impressive in his spell of 4-0-17-3 while Umesh Yadav took 2/27 from a couple of overs that he bowled.
The two teams will now travel to Nagpur for the second T20I to be played on Friday, September 23.