Australia prevails in last-ball thriller to take 1-0 lead

Australia beats India in a low-scoring thriller as it chased down 127 to take a 1-0 lead in Visakhapatnam.

Published : Feb 24, 2019 23:14 IST , VISAKHAPATNAM

Pat Cummins hit the winning runs as India went down fighting in a thriller.
Pat Cummins hit the winning runs as India went down fighting in a thriller.

Pat Cummins hit the winning runs as India went down fighting in a thriller.

Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson combined to score 13 off the final over as Australia snatched a dramatic three-wicket victory over India in the first T20 international.

A capacity crowd at the ACA-VDCA stadium in Visakhapatnam was treated to a remarkable game on Sunday as fortunes swung this way and that.

Chasing a far-from-imposing 127, the touring side appeared to be cruising towards the target, needing 29 off the last five overs with seven wickets in hand. But D’Arcy Short was run out in silly fashion before Krunal Pandya bowled Ashton Turner as India glimpsed an opportunity.


As the tension rose and Australia’s batsmen sweated, Jasprit Bumrah sent down a superb 19th over, taking two wickets and conceding only two runs. The home side seemed the favourite from that stage but Umesh Yadav was unable to prevent one last twist.

Poor Start

Australia began its reply poorly, slipping to five for two after Marcus Stoinis and Aaron Finch fell cheaply. But Glenn Maxwell soon took control.

The Victorian is a delightful striker of the ball and he was on song, attacking Umesh Yadav before launching towering sixes off Yuzvendra Chahal and Mayank Markande.

Glenn Maxwell made a match-winning 43-ball 56.

When he fell for 56, the touring side was still firmly in charge but in T20 cricket, things can often unravel at break-neck speed.

Rahul hits Fifty

Earlier, K.L. Rahul's breezy 50 on his return to the side proved to be the top score of the Indian innings.

The Karnataka batsman will have been relieved with his effort: he had endured a difficult tour of Australia, before his suspension forced an early flight home.

Here, Rahul looked in fine form from the outset, opening alongside Rohit Sharma while India rested Shikhar Dhawan.

KL Rahul plays a shot en route to his half-century.

He clipped Richardson off his hips before driving him through the covers. Adam Zampa was thumped down the pitch, and later deposited beyond the sight-screen.

At the other end, Rohit fell early, caught at short-fine-leg trying to paddle-sweep Jason Behrendorff.

Virat Kohli was involved in a lively 55-run stand for the second wicket with Rahul, a partnership broken when the captain was caught at long-on in his attempt to clobber Zampa.

Rishabh Pant was cheered to the crease, a sign of his stature as an entertainer with the bat, but his stay lasted all of five balls.

He was run out for 3, Behrendorff making a diving, one-handed stop at point before releasing the ball in a flash. Pant was a long way down the pitch.

When Rahul perished, caught at mid-off one ball after completing his half-century, India was still some distance away from achieving an imposing total.

A big contribution would be needed in the final third of the innings, but there simply wouldn't be any. Dinesh Karthik followed Rahul to the pavilion three balls later, Nathan Coulter-Nile uprooting middle-stump with one that moved in off the seam.

Krunal Pandya was dismissed for 1, clumsily trying to heave the same bowler over the leg-side. Coulter-Nile finished with three for 26, just reward for his efforts on the evening.

India handed Markande his international debut, omitting Vijay Shankar from the side. The pitch would take turn, Kohli had felt at the toss, as he fielded three spinners.

What this meant, however, was that Umesh walked in at eight: tails do not come much longer. Cummins, who was excellent during his four-over spell of one for 19, swiftly accounted for the Vidarbha quick. From 76 for two at the end of the ninth over, India had slid to 109 for seven in the 17th.

Even M.S. Dhoni could not help India mount a serious recovery: too much damage, it seemed, had already been done.

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