It seems like it was just yesterday when a billion hearts broke after India’s crushing defeat in the Finals of the Cricket World Cup. As fate had it, India’s first match right after the World Cup was scheduled to be with the World Champions.
Many fans didn’t even know about the match or chose to ignore it after the recent heartbreak. But those who braved the trauma and tuned in to watch were in for a thrilling ride and a brilliant surprise.
Indian skipper Suryakumar Yadav won the toss and elected to field first.
The First Innings
Fresh off their World Cup triumph, the Australians started on a high note, sending the Indians on the leather hunt from the get-go. After the fall of Martin Short (13 in 11b) in the fifth over, Steve Smith and Josh Inglis took the onus on themselves.
Inglis waded into the bowling of pacer Prasidh Krishna (4-0-50-1) and spinner Ravi Bishnoi (4-0-54-1). Inglis scored 6 sixes on the bowling of Bishnoi alone, out of the eight he smashed. He along with the seasoned Steve Smith (52 in 41b, run out) put up a 130-run stand for the second wicket to set the stage for a 200-plus score.
Inglis went after southpaw pacer Arshdeep Singh (4-0-41-0) in the 17th over wherein he scored four boundaries. The second boundary led him to his brilliant hundred.
After Inglis fell victim to Prasidh Krishna’s bowling in the 18th over, Marcus Stoinis (7 in 6b) and Tim David (19 in 13b) helped their team put up a total of 208 runs (loss of 3 wickets).
Pacer Mukesh Kumar bowled a brilliant final over wherein he gave just 5 runs, which proved to be crucial in the end.
The Second Innings
India started on the wrong foot as they lost their openers early. But number three batter Ishan Kishan (58 in 39b) played his natural game and scored a half-century before getting caught on the bowling of Tanveer Sangha (4-0-47-2).
But skipper Suryakumar Yadav (80 in 42b) led from the front and gave a specimen of his batting heroics, something the fans missed in the Cricket World Cup. He in his trademark style sent the ball packing for fours and sixes.
Suryakumar and Kishan put up a united third-wicket stand of 112 runs. The Aussies fought back as Sangha took the wickets of Kishan and Tilak Verma (12 in 10b). But Suryakumar almost sealed the deal before getting out in the 18th over.
In came Rinku Singh (22 in 14b, not out), who played with a calm mind and guided his team across the finish line in style.
India won by two wickets with one delivery to spare. India lead the five-match series 1-0.
Suryakumar Yadav was named Player of the Match for his resilient knock.
The Road Ahead
India faces Australia in the 2nd T20I on Sunday, November 26 in Thiruvananthapuram.