A hard-fought victory for the Australians in last night’s first T20 International against India left both supporter groups stunned, quickly transitioning into jubilation for the home crowd. Both Rohit Sharma and King Kohli misfired with the bat suggesting that their best is yet to come and India will be out for revenge in the second game of the series. The wet weather is expected to continue in Melbourne with light rain forecast throughout the evening.
It was a step forward in the right direction for Australia who finally broke their losing streak in T20 cricket against arguably the most dominant team in the world at the moment. It may not seem like a lot to many, but for Australia it would’ve meant the world given what they’ve been through over the past 12 months. Their batting was superb in the middle overs of the innings. After a scratchy start at the top of the order, skipper Aaron Finch and Queensland local Chris Lynn started to tee off against the Indian quicks which resulted in the run rate rising significantly. Lynn’s brisk-but-damaging 37 which came off just 20 balls and featured four sixes was one of the highlights of the innings. Looking shaky with the bat early, Marcus Stoinis was able to regain his composure and provide a match-winning partnership with fellow all-rounder Glenn Maxwell who was also at his destructive best with the willow. The big hitting was well & truly on full display as Maxwell dispatched spinner Krunal Pandya over the rope on four separate occasions.
If the Aussies keep batting with this sort of intent for the rest of the series, they’ll continue to give themselves every chance of winning. On his home turf tomorrow night, Australian captain Aaron Finch looms as the danger man for the hosts. Backing up a pretty impressive batting display, the Aussies were able to send the dangerous Rohit Sharma back to the sheds relatively early after he was starved of the strike. A couple of lucky inside edges and wafts past the outside edge had Shikhar Dhawan’s innings on a knife-edge, but his ability to find the boundary relieved the pressure somewhat. The game was broken wide open when leg-spinner Adam Zampa picked up the wicket of KL Rahul stumped, and perhaps the match-winning scalp of Indian skipper Virat Kohli for just 4 runs. Marcus Stoinis executed some brilliant death bowling towards the end and claimed two wickets in the process, Zampa was awarded player of the match. The home team still has some concerns heading to Melbourne, D’Arcy Short appears to be out of sorts with the bat and Andrew Tye leaked 47 runs from three overs in Brisbane.
All of a sudden, India has a fight on their hands which they probably wouldn’t have been expecting given Australia’s recent form in this particular format. India was quickly made aware of the difference in the pitches compared to their wickets back home, both Khaleel Ahmed and Krunal Pandya were exposed big time as they struggled to stem the flow of runs at the Gabba. It was expected that the Brisbane wicket would suit both Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar who are both quality seam bowlers for India, the pair are brilliant exponents of producing pace & bounce on hard surfaces such as Australia. Bhuvneshwar was held wicketless but proved to be economical, and Bumrah picked up 1/21 off his three overs which is to be expected. Wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav was India’s best bowler claiming 2/24, taking the big wickets of Aaron Finch and Chris Lynn at a time when they were most needed. Lynn smoked Khaleel over the fence numerous times and Maxwell hit four crowd catches off Pandya’s bowling which wouldn’t have pleased the skipper. India will be seriously considering both Yuzvendra Chahal and Umesh Yadav for tomorrow night’s match at the MCG, they have the luxury of rotating players if need be.
It’s likely that the DLS will come into play yet again in Melbourne given the weather forecast for Friday. Whether that’s a disadvantage for India or not, we’ll soon find out. One things for sure, and that’s the next time Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli walk to the crease they’ll be extremely fired up and eager to bury the Australians on their own behalf. Rohit’s innings was cut short in Brisbane after a leading edge ballooned up in the air off the edge to Finch at mid-on, lack of strike more than likely caused a rush of blood. Everyone knows how destructive this man is, if an opposition team can keep him relatively quiet for a three-match series that’s a job well done. His opening partner Shikhar Dhawan was superb, he now has scores of 43, 92 & 76 in his last three T20 Internationals for India. Needing someone to stand up, Dhawan produced the goods with 10 fours and 2 sixes in his runaway knock of 76 off 42 deliveries. Dinesh Karthik was also impressive with a 13-ball 30 which wasn’t quite enough to get his team home, nevertheless it was still a monumental effort.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Australia | 2nd T20I | Melbourne
- Chris Lynn
- Marcus Stoinis
- Billy Stanlake
- Aaron Finch
- Glenn Maxwell
Wildcard pick – Nathan Coulter-Nile
Top 5 fantasy picks | India | 2nd T20I | Melbourne
- Virat Kohli
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar
- Kuldeep Yadav
- Rohit Sharma
- Shikhar Dhawan
Wildcard pick – KL Rahul
Australia (possible) – 1. D’Arcy Short 2. Aaron Finch © 3. Chris Lynn 4. Glenn Maxwell 5. Marcus Stoinis 6. Ben McDermott 7. Alex Carey (wk) 8. Andrew Tye/Nathan Coulter-Nile 9. Adam Zampa 10. Jason Behrendorff 11. Billy Stanlake.
India (possible) – 1. Rohit Sharma 2. Shikhar Dhawan 3. KL Rahul 4. Virat Kohli © 5. Rishabh Pant (wk) 6. Dinesh Karthik 7. Krunal Pandya/Yuzvendra Chahal/Washington Sundar 8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar 9. Kuldeep Yadav 10. Khaleel Ahmed/Umesh Yadav 11. Jasprit Bumrah.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.