India crush Australia by 8 wickets in ICC T20 World Cup 2021 warmup match

Rohit Sharma (left) and KL Rahul
Rohit Sharma (left) and KL Rahul set the platform for India’s win over Australia

India produced a dominant performance in the second and final warmup match ahead of the main round of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 against Australia, recording an eight-wicket victory at the ICC Academy Ground in Dubai on Wednesday.

Rohit Sharma announced his form with a splendid knock of 60 (retired out) whereas others in KL Rahul (39) and Suryakumar Yadav (38 not out) played crucial roles as India produced a strong display with the bat after dominating the Australians with the ball, who had batted first. 

India restricted Australia to a moderate total of 152/5 in their 20 overs despite Steve Smith scoring 57, Marcus Stoinis making 41 not out and Glenn Maxwell contributing with 37. In the reply, India made 153/2 from only 17.5 overs, scoring at a rate of 8.57 to record a huge victory. 

India had previously defeated England in their first warmup match and the team looks primed for the big clash on Sunday which will be the match number 16 of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 against arch rivals Pakistan. 

It was the Indian bowlers who had set the tone in the favour of their team after Australia won the toss and decided to bat first. Australia opener David Warner was removed by Ravichandran Ashwin for 1 whereas captain Aaron Finch could make only 8 from 10 balls before he was trapped leg-before by India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.

The Australians slipped further when Mitchell Marsh was dismissed for a first-ball duck by Ashwin, which left them struggling at 11/3 inside four overs. This was when Smith and Maxwell teamed up to revive Australia, adding 61 runs for the fourth wicket which took them to a safe position.

Smith scored 57 from 48 balls with the help of seven boundaries whereas Maxwell made 37 from 28 balls while striking five hits to the fence. After their stand was broken, Stoinis announced his form with the bat after having an ordinary run in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 tournament. Stoinis made 41 not out from only 25 balls with the help of four boundaries and one six, as the contributions from these three batsmen took Australia to 152/5 in their 20 overs.

India used as many as seven bowling options which also included two overs from their captain Virat Kohli, who did not bat when it was their turn. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was impressive in his spell of 4-0-27-1 whereas Ashwin bowled only 2 overs for 8 runs in which he took a couple of wickets. The other bowlers in Jadeja and Rahul Chahar took one wicket each.

India made a strong start to the chase with the opening pair of Rohit and Rahul adding 68 runs in 9.2 overs to provide a strong platform. After Ashton Agar struck to dismiss Rahul for 39, for which he struck three sixes and two fours from 31 balls to make 39, Suryakumar made a crucial 38 not out from 27 balls with the help of five fours and a six, adding another 66 runs for the second wicket with Rohit. 

Rohit was belligerent with the bat as he smacked three sixes and five boundaries to score 60 from only 41 balls but was the highest score from any batsman from either side.

Towards the end, Hardik Pandya made 14 not out from 8 balls as he produced a knock that would certainly give a lot of hope and promise to the Indian camp, since he finished the match in the company of Suryakumar. 

For Australia, as many as eight bowlers were used during the Indian innings as Agar was the only wicket-taker. 

While India will take on Pakistan on Sunday in their first match of the Super 12 stage in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, Australia will face South Africa on Saturday afternoon in Abu Dhabi.