India were indebted to Yuvraj Singh after his man of the match knock of 77* off 35 deliveries blasted India to victory over Australia to win the only T20 international match. The venue for this exciting match was Rajkot the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium and it is the first time this venue has hosted a T20 international.
Australia’s innings began with an incredible bang with openers Maddinson and Finch blowing away the Indian bowlers. Maddinson in particular in his debut innings for Australia played exceptionally well hitting 34 off 16 deliveries before playing across the line to a straight delivery from Buhnevesh Kumar and losing his off stump. The highlight of his innings was a massive 94m six off Ishant Sharma who had a mixed bag with the ball for India.
Maddinson’s opening partner Finch then switched to the aggressor and his knock of 89 off 52 balls was only ended due to a brilliant effort from Vinay Kumar off his own bowling, his full toss was miscued by Finch but he has the presence of mind during his follow through to take the return catch one handed and this allowed India to seize complete control of the back end of Australia’s innings.
The only other valiant efforts to speak of were from all rounder Glenn Maxwell who was aggressive from the outset and hammered Ravi Ashwin hitting him for three sixes in an over. His innings of 27 off 13 came to an end courtesy of a brilliant catch at long on from Ishant Sharma who had a mixed game with the ball and in the field, but this was a truly superb effort and he did exceptionally well to maintain his balance taking the catch and remaining inside the boundary.
It took a six from the last ball of the Australian innings from James Faulkner to catapult them to 201-7 and it is worth mentioning that in the final four overs of their innings India restricted Australia to 27 runs, this considering the incredible start of just 74-1 from the first six overs represented a great comeback from the Indians and proved very costly for the Australians indeed.
The Indian innings didn’t get off to the greatest start when Rohit Sharma departed for a run a ball eight, Reina and Dhawan provided a platform of sorts but Reina was again out to a short ball this time from Nathan Coulter Nile and pulled the ball to Watson who was at mid on for 19 off 13.
Dhawan and Kohli departed to bring together Yuvraj and Dhoni with 100-4 on the board in the 12th over and the left hand right hand partnership served India well when they combined to make the fifth wicket partnership of 102 runs with Yuvraj 77* off 35 and Dhoni a much more circumspect knock with 24* off 21.
Dhoni provided yet another display of his versatility with this knock and does back up those who suggest he is one of if not the best One day batsmen in the game currently. Dhoni is capable of much more explosive innings but with Yuvraj in form at the other end Dhoni cleverly knocked the singles and allowed the left hander to capitalise on his good form.Yuvraj batted exceptionally well mixing brutality through the leg side with some subtle touches past the wicketkeeper down to the boundary.
This run chase was in complete contrast to the Australian innings they started slowly and hit peak towards the middle and back end of the innings and this is yet another example of how crucial momentum at the back end of an innings can be in any form of the game and it also showcases just how immense India are in their own conditions. Throughout the upcoming ODI series I fully expect to see India prove exactly why they will be strong favourites for the World Cup down under in a few years time.