After a very disappointing tour of the UAE against Pakistan, we looked forward to a massive home series against the Proteas and the Indians. The series against South Africa was far from the start Australia wanted but the first T20 against the Indians was a bit of a surprise in which the Aussies got up by four runs in a rain affected match. Here are the five things I learned from the first T20:
1. The Big Show rues the rain break
After the Aussies lost Chris Lynn at halfway at 3 for 75, they needed a partnership to get a competitive total and that is exactly what they got. The Big Show and Marcus Stoinis combined beautifully with a great balance of hard running and big hitting. In a partnership of 78 in just 37 balls which included three sixes in a row of Krunal Pandya and a slice of luck for Maxi off the same bowler.
Maxi went big one too many times and was beaten in flight and the ball went straight up, only to hit the Spider Cam and become a dead ball. Just as the Aussies were really winding up and powering to the end, the rain came. All the momentum that the Australians had was halted and the rain shortened the game to 17 overs. Maxi was caught out in the first ball after the break and Australia could only manage another 5 runs in the last 4 balls to get to 4 for 158. Who knows what score the Australians could have bludgeoned had the weather not intervened.
2. Chris Lynn teases us again.
The world knows, Australia knows, I think even he knows the power and skill he possesses. But once again Chris Lynn showed us merely a glimpse of what he is capable of. His pure power and fast hands were once again on show last night in a 20 ball 37 with four big sixes and a four.
Whilst he has been pegged as a limited overs specialist, he is yet to prove that he can make it in the longer formats and seems to be to be a T20 pro with little else to offer. If he is not smashing sixes he has little else to back it up. He really needs to learn to work the ball around and find the gaps in between the big shots.
If he gets bogged down he tends to get frustrated and play a poor shot and get himself out. We all know what talent he has, he just needs to get another string to his bow or he is at risk of leaving any other form of cricket behind.
3. India’s batting strength is one to behold.
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, two of India’s most talented and destructive batsman made 11 between them. Yet they were still able to power themselves to a very respectable 7 for 169 chasing 174.
Shikhar Dhawan was explosive, clinical and unperturbed by the wickets falling around him. He finished up with 76 off 42 balls with 10 fours and 2 sixes. When he was dismissed at 4 for 105 he had scored 72% of India’s total score and the Indians looked like they were in trouble.
A quickfire 51 run partnership off 23 balls between Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik gave them a slim chance but the target proved too much in the end. Despite falling short, the Indians showed, that even without their best batsman firing, they still have plenty of hitting in the sheds.
4. Adam Zampa is Australia’s best short form spinner, by far.
Adam Zampa’s leggies don’t command the respect he deserves.
Whether it is in the 50 over game or the 20 over games, he is always impressive with ball in hand. His control, accuracy and variations are more than enough to wreak havoc on opposition batsman. As he showed last night returning figures of 2 for 22, including 11 dot balls in his 4 overs.
He has a very good balance between keeping the runs down while also being a wicket taker. He has a knack of knowing which ball to bowl and when in each situation, while it doesn’t always work out, you always get points for being brave enough to try.
5. Fielding was a weak point for both teams.
Dropped catches and misfields were on full display at the Gabba. Even some of the catches that were taken were less than convincing. Even though there were some pretty special catches from Glenn Maxwell and Kuldeep Yadav, the overall fielding from both teams was pretty poor.
Dropped catches from Khaleel, Kohli and Zampa at critical times could be because of the slippery ball as the wet weather hung around for a bit before they were eventually forced off. As professional cricketers though, I expect a lot better form both teams and expect a better performance on Friday.
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