With India a perfect eight from eight in 2018 when chasing in T20 Internationals, it was no surprise that Virat Kohli elected to field upon winning the toss. Playing in front of a Gabba crowd that made them feel at home, India looked extremely well placed after Shikhar Dhawan scored a rapid fire 76 off just 42 deliveries.
Player of the Match Adam Zampa put a dent in the Indian chase with a brilliant spell of four overs in which he took 2 for 22 including the vital wicket of Kohli. Just as Australia seemed to be in the ascendancy Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant threatened to win it again for the visitors when they put on 51 for the fifth wicket off just 23 balls. Their efforts meaning a brilliant final over from Marcus Stoinis was required for the Australians to record a four run victory under the Duckworth Lewis System.
The Aussies innings was interrupted by Brisbane’s fickle spring weather but not before Chris Lynn (37 off 20), Glenn Maxwell (46 off 24) and Stoinis (33no of 19) kept the crowd entertained with some clean hitting. Having not taken full advantage of the power play, it was a strong response from the middle order to help set up the thrilling victory.
Lets take a look at the hits and misses from the opening skirmish in what should be another hotly contested summer of cricket between Australia and India.
1. Adam Zampa
India were making a fine fist of their chase of the revised Duckworth Lewis total of 174, right up until Aaron Finch turned to Adam Zampa for a change of pace at one end. After a solid first over, his second and third would change the whole context of the game.
A farcical stumping appeal which resulted in a no-ball call upon third umpire intervention was a false start to 12 balls in which Zampa would concede just nine runs and claim the wickets of Rahul and Kohli. He only had himself to blame for not claiming the dangerous Dhawan, with a missed caught the only blemish on a match changing spell from the baby faced leg-spinner.
2. Stoinis Seals the Deal
It was game on when Marcus Stoinis stepped up to his bowling mark for the final over with India requiring 13 runs to win. After conceding two off the first ball he delivered three dot balls in a row, including the wickets of Karthik and Pandya to take the ascendancy. Then with India only able to manage two runs from a wide and a single off the fifth delivery it was over. A consolation four off the last ball taking a little gloss of Stoinis’ figures but not the importance of what he had just done.
3. Australia’s Fielding
While it was not a perfect performance in the field by any stretch of the imagination, the Australians they were able to easily outpoint their opponents. Highlighted by a remarkable stumping by Alex Carey and catching from Glenn Maxwell the Aussies were clinical in the field. The same could not be said of the Indians, who despite having the better of the conditions, will rue their sloppiness which saw them miss a number of chances to stop the Australian batting charge.
4. Glenn Maxwell
While ‘The Big Show’ might be one of the most polarising figures in Australian cricket what isn’t in question is the fact he is one of the most exciting players to watch when on song. In a turbo charged 24 ball stay at the crease the 30-year-old Victorian belted four sixes including the following three ball effort in the 14th over as described on www.cricinfo.com
Rain robbed those at home and the ground of what might have been a special partnership between he and Marcus Stoinis who appeared to be in a similar mood and vein of form. Regardless of this fact, their 78 run partnership off just 37 balls was the backbone of Australia’s four run win.
1. SE Qld Weather Strikes Again
After Saturday night’s T20I on the Gold Coast was delayed because of torrential storms, play was lost again on Wednesday in the Queensland capital. Not much you can really do about the elements in an outdoor game but it must be disappointing for those fans in the Sunshine State, some of whom may have attended both games, to have these showcase games affected by the weather.
2. Finchy Gets His Sums Wrong
The Australian skipper admitted that maths wasn’t his strong point at school but his inability to get his sums right on Wednesday nearly cost the Australians dearly. Due to the shortened nature of the Indian innings, only two Australian bowlers were entitled to the usual T20 allotment of four overs. With Billy Stanlake already having bowled three overs, Finch asked the big quick to bowl the 14th over despite Behrendorff and Zampa having bowled four. Tapped on the shoulder to bowl the over instead, AJ Tye wore the brunt of Finch’s elementary mistake with 25 runs coming off his seamers.
As much as Tye paid the price, his over was illustrative of the troubles he and his fellow pacemen have encountered in both T20I’s this summer. In both bowling performances, Australia have only been able to slow their opposition with the spin bowling of Glenn Maxwell against South Africa and Adam Zampa against India.
4. The ‘Flying Fox’ Operator
Rain wasn’t the only interruption to the batting exhibition Glenn Maxwell produced on Wednesday, another unlikely culprit got in the way an over before the weather intervened. Depending on which team you support, on the sixth ball of the 16th over Maxwell was either robbed of a six, or the Indians of an opportunity to dismiss him when his heaved drive collided with Foxtel’s Flying Fox Operator.
With just two coming off the rebowled delivery and the rain interruption an over later, either outcome might have had a major bearing on the DLS calculations. With the most useful shot from the camera being the footage of Maxwell’s heave smashing into it, should it have been in any kind of position to have this level of impact on the match?
5. Rishabh Pant’s Get Out Shot
With the Indian chase sagging, Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik combined to put their team right back on track. In a terrific stand the pair put on 51 for the fifth wicket in just 23 balls. Yet just as they appeared to have the game back on their terms, Pant produced a shot to rival Mike Gatting’s reverse sweep in its ineptitude if not its importance.
Following on from his 25 run over, AJ Tye was on the back foot once again when he had conceded six of the first two balls of the 15th over but just as he was reconsidering his life choices, Pant gave him a gift. Tempted by the fact that third man and point were up, he attempted a reverse scoop from a wide Tye delivery but, rather than guiding it behind square for four, he managed a miss hit to Jason Behrendorff at point.
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