Australia yesterday edged India by four runs in a nerve-wracking finish to their opening Twenty20 international, despite a gallant 76 from Shikhar Dhawan, giving them a huge confidence boost after a run of poor results.
With the rain-marred match in Brisbane reduced to 17 overs, the visitors were set 174 to win under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern system after the hosts made 158-4, with Glenn Maxwell top-scoring with 46.
India needed 13 off the last over from Marcus Stoinis, but, in a desperate bid to get the runs, two wickets fell and they missed the target.
It eased the pressure on Australia, who have been struggling to find their feet after a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March.
They have endured a dire run of results since and had lost fours T20s before this one.
“The boys played really well, especially through the middle overs with the bat. They showed a lot of courage,” skipper Aaron Finch said.
“The bowling was outstanding under a lot of pressure. I was confident. Stoinis was the one I penciled in to do that job at the end. He had clear plans and executed his plans really well,” he said.
Indian captain Virat Kohli called it an “exciting seesaw battle.”
“A lot of Indians came to support us. It was a great atmosphere to play in,” he said. “We bowled well and then they came back into the game with Stoinis and Maxy batting well. And a really good knock from Shikhar.”
Dhawan opened the innings in the run chase and immediately began plundering the Australia attack, smashing two boundaries off Jason Behrendorff’s opening over.
Behrendorff got the scalp of danger man Rohit Sharma for 7, but there was no stopping Dhawan, who hit 16 off one over to bring up his ninth T20 50 off just 28 balls.
Lokesh Rahul made 13 before he was cleverly stumped by Alex Carey, bringing Kohli to the crease to huge roars from the big Indian contingent.
However, he did not last long, gone for 4 with Chris Lynn taking a catch at third-man off Adam Zampa.
Dhawan was not far behind, caught on the boundary ropes attempting an upper cut off Billy Stanlake’s bowling.
It left Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik needing to score 78 runs off 36 balls. They whittled it down to set up a nail-biting finish before succumbing to the pressure.
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