1st T20I: Chahal, Jadeja, Rahul shine as India beats Australia by 11 runs

Yuzvendra Chahal came on as a concussion substitute and took three wickets as Australia came unstuck in its chase of 161.

Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates after dismissing Steve Smith. - GETTY IMAGES

Yuzvendra Chahal turned out to be the perfect concussion substitute for India after an injured Ravindra Jadeja did his part with the bat. The two played their roles to perfection as India defeated Australia by 11 runs in the first Twenty20 International at Manuka Oval, Canberra.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball updates

While Jadeja smashed an unbeaten 44 off 23 balls to propel India to 161 for 7, his head injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Chahal (3 for 25 in four overs) was unleashed on the opponent. The Australian side was caught off-guard, and it could manage only 150 for 7 in 20 overs.

Debutant T. Natarajan (3 for 30) and off-spinner Washington Sundar (0 for 16 in four overs) also played their part, bowling well in the Powerplay.

ICC match referee David Boon allowed the visitors a “like-for-like” replacement, as mandated by the rules, for Jadeja in Chahal even though Justin Langer, Australia’s head coach, looked visibly angry.

And to make matters worse for the home team, Chahal dimissed two form men - Aaron Finch (35) and Steve Smith (12) - in his first two overs to turn the game on its head. He won the Man of the Match award for his superb effort.

AUS v IND, 1st T20I - HIGHLIGHTS

The Australians were not prepared for Chahal, who bowled way better in his most preferred format than in the ODIs, varying the pace of his deliveries and using the flight to good effect.

Natarajan, whose nerves had eased after a decent ODI debut on Wednesday, was accurate. He got a delivery to straighten, dismissing Glenn Maxwell leg-before-wicket. Later, he snuffed out a frustrated D’Arcy Short (34 off 38 balls) to make it 113 for 4 and India didn’t have to look back from then on.

Half-century for Rahul

Earlier, vice-captain K. L. Rahul continued his impressive run in the T20s with yet another half-century and Jadeja enabled a back-end flourish to take India to a fighting total.

Rahul hit 51 (40 deliveries) but leg-spinner Adam Zampa (1 for 20 in four overs) and all-rounder Moises Henriques (3 for 22 in four overs) were brilliant between overs 11th and 15th, which shifted the momentum in favour of the home team until Jadeja played a cameo (44, 23b, 5x4, 1x6).

Between the 11th and 15th over, India scored 22 runs and lost three wickets - Sanju Samson (23 off 15 balls), Manish Pandey (2 off 8 balls) and Rahul.

However, Jadeja, who suffered from hamstring trouble, launched into Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc in the final two overs. These overs yielded 34 runs, taking Indian to a par-score.

Effective Zampa, Starc

The Indians found Zampa difficult to get away as he conceded only one boundary while Henriques conceded just a six, cleverly varying the pace of his deliveries with a good mix of cutters and seam-up deliveries. Rahul, who hit five fours and a six, Samson and Hardik Pandya (16 off 15 balls) were deceived by the pace of pitch in which driving on the up wasn’t easy.

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Mitchell Starc (2 for 34) was also quick and incisive at the start but got hit during the death overs. Four days of rest seemed to have done Starc a world of good as he found both his length and swing back at the start. At a scorching 145 kph, he bowled one that shaped away from Shikhar Dhawan from middle-stump and knocked back the off-stump.

K. L. Rahul raises his bat after reaching 50. - AP   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

Rahul’s first boundary was a mishit off Hazlewood over third-man, followed by a cover drive off Zampa. Another streaky boundary off Sean Abbott was topped up by a regal pull-shot into the mid-wicket stands.

Kohli out for 9

Inexperienced leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson (1 for 21 in 2 overs) repeatedly bowled short but did snap a prized catch in rival captain Virat Kohli (9). The ball stopped on Kohli and the result was a return catch off a leading edge.

But Rahul punished him and so did Samson, who rocked back to hit him for a six. Rahul’s half century came off 37 deliveries. However, Samson perished when Henriques bowled an off-cutter and the uppish cover drive. He was pouched by Swepson and India’s innings went down south from that moment before Jadeja redeemed it.

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