India ease past Australia in the 2nd T20I to take the series!
Galatta | Dec 06, 2020, 07:07 pm
India's tour of Australia, which began almost immediately after the Indian Premier League (IPL), ended in the UAE. After the mandatory 14-day quarantine, the Indian team met the Australian team in the ODIs but it was a rocky start for the Men in Blue, as they lost the first 2 one-day matches and in turn, the series. However, India bounced back strongly after the back-to-back wins and won the 3rd ODI to bring some momentum into the T20 series and it showed in their performance in the first T20 match of the series, which they won comfortably! Australia would have definitely wanted to win the 2nd T20I to level the series. The 2 teams returned to Sydney, where Australia won the first 2 ODIs. Australia's regular captain Aaron Finch was ruled out of today's game with an injury and the captaincy was handed over to Wicket Keeper Matthew Wade, who unfortunately lost his very first toss and Kohli decided to bowl first.
Wade got Australia off to a great start with a flurry of boundaries and by the end of 4 Overs, they had raced to 46/0! Natarajan was introduced in the 5th Over and he immediately struck, removing D'Arcy Short, giving away just 1 run! However, Wade continued to smash boundaries and got to a 50 off just 25 balls. Washington Sundar was having an unusually off day and had been going for a number of runs and luck was not on his side, when the always reliable Kohli himself dropped a catch, that too of Wade but luckily he had the presence of mind to immediately return the ball to KL Rahul, to find Wade short of his crease! At the end of 10 overs, Australia had raced to 91/2! Maxwell and Smith continued in explosive form but Thakur got Maxwell to a simple catch by Sundar. Even Chahal wasn't spared and Smith & Henriques carted him for sixes in the same over before Smith smashed another 6 but fell to a very good catch by Hardik Pandya. Natarajan returned to prise out Henriques, to a catch which was reviewed by Australia but went in India's favour. Stoinis then joined Sams to take Australia to an imposing 194/5 setting India a target of 195!
The last four matches on this ground have been won by the team batting 2nd but India had quite an uphill task ahead! India had a very quiet start and Rahul launched a 6 off the Free Hit of the 4th ball of the 3rd over, after which Dhawan edged behind for a 4, lending some impetus to the innings. However, when Maxwell came on to bowl the 4th Over, Rahul & Dhawan decided to take him on and got 19 runs off the Over. This got the Indian innings off to a racy start but Tye got a spanner in the works when he took out Rahul in the 6th Over. However, Dhawan kept going and by the end of the 10th Over, India got to 81/1, just marginally behind Australia's score at the same mark. After a slowdown in the scoring rate, pressure built up on India and Dhawan fell after getting to his 50. Kohli, who was joined by Samson and the duo amped up the scoring rate before Samson got out to a good catch by Smith. Kohli decided enough-was-enough and took on Tye's 15th Over for 18 runs but fell to Sams' for 40 runs. Pandya was joined by Shreyas Iyer and the two began to take India home with some huge hits but had left 14 runs to be gotten off the last over. Pandya started the Over with a 2 but smashed a huge 6 off the 2nd ball to ease the Indian nerves and smashed another 6 off the 4th ball to clinch the game for India! Brushing off the ODI series loss, India took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the T20I series! Pandya was awarded the Man of the Match for his unbeaten 42 but he opined that it should have been Natarajan who should have been given the award for his wonderful performance on a difficult track!