India’s opening bowlers - Jasprit Bumrah and Navdeep Saini changed the momentum of the encounter from the first ball, with three wickets in as many overs. However, it still required a gigantic effort from Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant to take India home against Australia in the SRL encounter.
Talk about a bad start, Australia will explain it better after they lost their openers in the span of three overs early in the innings. In between the two openers, India managed to sandwich the wicket of the superstar Steve Smith. Despite Glenn Maxwell’s efforts and Mitchell Starc’s late cameo, Australia could only put on 140 runs at the end of their innings. For India, it was the two opening bowlers who caused havoc to the Australian top-order.
India had a similar start to their Australian counterparts. Both the openers - Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul fell early in the innings before the end of the powerplay to leave it up to the middle order. Indian skipper Kohli’s partnership with Shreyas Iyer took India ahead of the scoring rate before he fell short. However, Iyer-Pant partnership ensured that there were no further hiccups in the game as India got past the Australian hurdle.
Jasprit Bumrah’s opening spell arguably was the turning point of the game even before the game caught any momentum. In just the first delivery of the game, he caught the Australian opener, Warner, by surprise with a wicket. And, just when you thought he couldn’t do any better, he picked the wicket of the Australian skipper which left them in a real muddle.
Highs and Lows
The opening bowling partnership of Jasprit Bumrah and Navdeep Saini is a game-changer, believe it or not! They just took the sting out of the Australian top order with the wicket of the tourists’ trio - Warner, Finch and Smith. Not only did they get them out cheaply, but they also applied the brakes on the innings, which restricted Australia from getting any sort of momentum in the innings. The duo ended with spells of 2-24 and 1-29 in eight overs, which is a remarkable feat in T20 cricket.
On the other hand, the yin of the yang, the lows of the high - which is Rohit Sharma’s performance in the game. The Indian opener, highly touted for his smacking ability fell just for five runs in a game that India needed to win to stay alive, with the target just being 142, a criminal performance from the right-handed batsman.
Powerplay exploitation: Australia 5/10 and India 6/10
Australia’s batting performance in the powerplay showed everything that could go possibly wrong in a T20 encounter. Right from the first ball, they were on the backfoot, thanks to the inspired opening spell from Jasprit Bumrah before Saini continued the spree. Since then, it became too late for them to recover from that situation in the game, eventually failing to put up a competitive score.
On the other hand, India were as poor if not more than the Australian display early on in the game. They lost both their key batsmen - KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma early on in the powerplay, leaving the task to the middle-order for a grandstand finish. If the target was just above 160, India’s lacklustre batting display in the powerplay would have surely have cost them the game.
Middle-overs manoeuvring: Australia 6/10 and India 7/10
Surely, it was the best phase in the Australian innings as they dug themselves out of the hole that they put themselves in the first place. Glenn Maxwell’s partnership with Mitchell Marsh first before Alex Carey walked in to bat. They scored 62 runs in the middle phase of the innings before a late crash to the Indian party.
India just lost two wickets in the middle-overs - Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer, while scoring 71 runs in the run-chase of 141. While Kohli fell to a similar figure of Adam Zampa, it was the partnership from the DC boys, Pant-Iyer which helped the Indian team cross the line on the day. Their ploy was highly effective, taking the spinners slowly before a late flurry of boundaries to take the team home against this strong Australian-bowling attack.
Death bowling: Australia 4/10 and India 5/10
Australia’s death bowling was a disaster, with the game nearly in India’s hands. The bowlers had to just pick a wicket or two and they could have easily changed the way the game ended - which is a comfortable victory for India. However, despite that, there was respite, with the wicket of Hardik Pandya in the first ball of the beginning of death overs. Apart from that, they did nothing and nothing really that could take any of the plaudits.
India massively failed in the death, allowing Australia to post a respectable target from the tatters they were in early on in the innings. Not only did they allow 42 runs but they also allowed the Australian team to get their momentum back which was seen in their new-ball bowling performance. The Indian bowlers allowed the Australian tail-enders to score quick runs towards the end, with Starc scoring two sixes during his stay at the crease.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Nailbiter
Well, as I type this, I realize I have a half nail bitten just because of the game. It was so intense that every delivery looked like it was going to give us some kind of action - wicket, runs or boundaries. The SRL audience also got a glimpse of the damage that Pant’s blade could give, with some sumptuous shots.
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