Tue, Feb 26, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Australia edge past India in last-ball thriller


India batsman Dinesh Karthik is clean bowled in the first Twenty20 international against Australia in Visakhapatnam, India, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Glenn Maxwell on Sunday hit a crucial half-century as Australia edged India by three wickets in a thrilling last-ball finish at the first Twenty20 international.

Pat Cummins hit a four off the penultimate ball and took two runs off the final delivery to complete a nervous 127-run chase after his fellow paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile restricted the hosts to 126-7 in Visakhapatnam, India.

Maxwell, who made 56, put together 84 runs with D’Arcy Short for the third wicket to put Australia on course, before Jasprit Bumrah hit back with three wickets.

Bumrah got debutant Peter Handscomb caught behind for 13 and then bowled Coulter-Nile with the final ball of the 19th over to keep the game in the balance.

Jhye Richardson and Cummins — both 7 not out — then kept their cool in the final six balls against Umesh Yadav to steer Australia home.

“It’s a really strong position to be in,” Australia skipper Aaron Finch said after the win. “Nathan is a wicket-taker. He has been very consistent in the IPL [Indian Premier League] as well. Maxi [Maxwell] played a hell of an innings on a pitch which was tough to bat [on].”

The day belonged to Coulter-Nile, who returned figures of 3-26 in his four overs, receiving the Man of the Match award.

India batsman K.L. Rahul, who returned to the side after a suspension for sexist comments during a TV chat show appearance with Hardik Pandya, hit 50 off 36 balls.

His 55-run second-wicket stand with skipper Virat Kohli, who made 24, gave India a brisk start, but the hosts lost momentum after losing three quick wickets.

Adam Zampa got Kohli’s prized scalp with his leg-spin and Coulter-Nile claimed the wicket of Rahul to check India on a tricky pitch.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni made an unbeaten 29.

“A low scoring game is always on the cards in T20 cricket,” Kohli said. “With the bowling effort we were pleased. Bumrah can do wonders with the ball when it is reversing, and did exceptionally well to get us in the game. Australia deserved to win as they played better than us.”

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