Suryakumar Yadav led from the front on his captaincy debut with a fine knock (80, 42b, 9x4, 4x6) to help India beat Australia by two wickets in the first T20 international match at the Dr YSR ACA-VDCA Stadium on Thursday.
The Indian skipper’s knock ensured Josh Inglis’ sensational 110 (50b 11x4, 8x6) earlier in the evening - which powered Australia to a competitive 208 - went in vain.
The Men in Blue’s chase started on the wrong note after losing the openers early. However, the experienced Surykumar and Ishan Kishan (58) steadied the chase with an 112-run partnership for the third wicket.
Later, Rinku Singh proved his mettle in his first real test against a strong team, scoring an unbeaten 22 as he guided the home team through some nervous moments in the final over. From needing two off the last four, India lost three wickets to bring the equation to one off the last ball.
As he has done in the IPL, Rinku launched Sean Abbott over long-on to seal the chase in style. However, in an anti-climactic end, Abbott overstepped on the final delivery and handed India the victory.
Right from the moment he walked in, Suryakumar was in his elements as he shuffled across and flicked the Aussie pacers over midwicket for fours and sixes in his trademark style. At the other end, Ishan cut loose against leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha, peppering the midwicket boundary with his slog sweeps to brutal effect as he brought up his half-century.
Though the Aussies fought back when Sangha quickly removed Kishan and Tilak Varma, Surykumar was unstoppable. In the 17th over, the Indian skipper hit Nathan Ellis for two fours and a six and almost sealed the chase.
Earlier, Inglis sent the Indian bowlers on a leather hunt after Australia was asked to bat first. Pacer Prasidh Krishna was the first to face Inglis’s wrath as the right-handed batter smashed him around the park in the eighth over, collecting three boundaries and a six - a beautiful cut shot over point.
Later, Inglis waded into Bishnoi, hitting the leg spinner for six maximums out of his eight and setting the stage for the visitors to post a score above 200. He used the slog sweep and pull shot well to collect sixes through midwicket easily.
He then launched into left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh, hitting four boundaries in the 17th over, with the second one taking him to his hundred. Inglis and Steve Smith (52) added 130 runs for the second wicket. Pacer Mukesh Kumar helped India finish strongly, giving just five runs in the final over, which proved crucial in the end.
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