INDIA TOUR OF AUSTRALIA, 2020-21
India took an 11-point victory on Friday. © AFP
As is often the case, if the batsmen of India don’t get you, their spinners will. Australia found it the hard way in the first T20I between the parties in Canberra, getting lost after keeping India at 161 and gathering a quick opening grandstand of fifty people in response.
As a result of this 11-run victory over Manuka Oval, India achieved their eighth consecutive T20I victory, their longest winning streak to date. They also have to lose a T20I this year (Won: 8, NR: 1).
So what exactly did the spinners do?
Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal, who only entered the game in the second innings to replace Ravindra Jadeja for a concussion, combined 3 for 41 over their eight overs, which also included 20 point balls.
Sundar, with power play numbers of 2-0-9-0, did some damage to the top while Chahal, with ample support from T Natarajan, broke the opening 56-point score before finishing 3 for 25. He used his slow , wide balls to bring the long boundaries of Manuka Oval into play.
Kohli later brought in Sundar (4-0-16-0) for one-over spells right after Natarajan picked the crucial wickets of Glenn Maxwell and D’Arcy Short, allowing Australia an inch and building pressure on both sides. That’s where Australia’s chase to a decent par total came undone. They had no momentum after Chahal picked the first few wickets.
What is the controversy surrounding Chahal?
It couldn’t get more poetic than a concussion walking away with the Man of the Match prize. But India’s move to replace Ravindra Jadeja, who was overlooked in the 20th, with Chahal, didn’t sit well with Justin Langer and by extension Australia. Jadeja visibly struggled with a suspected hamstring towards the end of India’s innings, but a cursory blow to the head meant submitting him to concussion was an option.
What it meant for India were four overs from Chahal, India’s main leg spinner dropped from this game after a cold ODI series, and Australia just had no way around that.
The start of the flight to Australia was ____
A 56-run lead when Kohli misunderstood his tactics at the start, compounding their frustration with what appeared to be an improved pitch for batting. Deepak Chahar, known for bowling more in power play than anywhere else, took the swing with his first ball, but just threw the ball over with the new ball. And Sundar’s sparse bowling effort up front was more than made up for by Mohammed Shami’s average day out; he gave up 0 for 21 in the power play before finishing with numbers of 4-0-46-0.
India also had a mixed day in the field. Virat Kohli dropped Short and Manish Pandey dropped Finch, both coming from consecutive deliveries in the 7th of the innings, pitched by Deepak Chahar. But India also made good catches in depth through Hardik Pandya and Sanju Samson, giving Chahal the first few wickets.
How was India’s innings?
Slowly in advance.
Shikhar Dhawan fell early to a beautiful outswinger from Mitchell Starc, so the opening position that India likes to build on never materialized. They played a whopping 15 dots in the power play, meaning that despite KL Rahul’s 37-ball fifty, India was behind eight-ball with only 42/1 in their first six. Australia, in comparison, was 53/0 after six overs.
What hurt India even more in the middle overs were the overs of Moises Henriques. The all-rounder, Aaron Finch’s sixth bowling opportunity on the day, used his slower balls well; and Sanju Samson, Pandya and Kl Rahul all fell prey to it. On the other hand, Adam Zampa kept tight lines and got 1 to 20. It didn’t help that Virat Kohli had another cold outing, caught and thrown at 9 against Mitchell Swepson’s fast long hop.
So how did India manage 162?
It was thanks to Ravindra Jadeja, who scored 44 * on 23 balls – his highest T20I score and an Indian batter’s highest score at number 7 or below.
The visitors had lost 6/3 in the last 17 balls when Jadeja joined Hardik Pandya in the middle in the 14th over. It looked like an encore from the ODI just a few days ago, until Moises Henriques picked his third wicket and saw the back of in-form Pandya. That’s when Jadeja took the lead and collected 23 runs from Josh Hazlewood’s last over, also the 19th of the innings. He hit three fours and a six in that over for a few more boundaries against Mitchell Starc in the last over, which put India’s score above 160.
Tell me about India’s team changes
I cannot say that. Yuzvendra Chahal’s omission should be pretty obvious now, but India also let Jasprit Bumrah rest and chose Manish Pandey over Shreyas Iyer for No. 4. T Natarajan got a T20I debut while Mayank Agarwal, who came on the back of a good IPL , again was omitted. .
Back to the Sydney Cricket Ground, where Australia looked more comfortable, and India not so much. The second T20I will be played on Sunday.
Short scores: India Defeated 161/7 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 51, Ravindra Jadeja 44 *; Moises Henriques 3-22) Australia 150/7 (Aaron Finch 35, D’Arcy Short 34; Yuzvendra Chahal 3-25, T Natarajan 3-30) by 11 runs