Australia was in the driver’s seat when they sent Shikhar Dhawan back for an aggressive 76 in the Brisbane Twenty20 International on Wednesday. With 60 runs needed off 24 balls, India faced an uphill task. However, Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik got Virat Kohli’s side back in the game with some aggressive hitting. Both batsmen went after Andrew Tye as they hit 25 runs in the 14th over to turn the momentum towards India. Karthik regularly found the boundaries and India needed 13 runs off the final over bowled by Marcus Stoinis. After taking two runs on the first ball, Pant attempted an audacious scoop shot which he miscued and was caught at backward point for 15. Karthik immediately fell for an aggressive 30 off 13 balls as India lost by four runs to trail 0-1 in the three-match series.
Speaking in the post-match press conference, Kohli said Pant’s wicket was the turning point. “We started well with the bat, fumbled in the middle overs, in the end we thought we'll win with Pant and Karthik but it changed again with Pant's dismissal,” Kohli said.
Both batsmen smashed 51 runs in 3.5 overs to keep India in the hunt. This is not the first time that Pant has stumbled while taking India close to the finish line. In the Chennai Twenty20 game against West Indies, with India cruising towards the target, the young left-hander attempted to ramp pacer Keemo Paul to the third man fence but he missed and was dismissed for 58, with India needing five off the last over. It proved to be an incredibly close game as India won off the last ball thanks to a misfield.
The Indian cricket team skipper lauded the efforts of Shikhar Dhawan, who created a world record by breaking Kohli’s mark to score the most runs in a calendar year in Twenty20 Internationals. “He's (Dhawan) a very strong player at the top of the order. He hasn't got a T20 hundred yet, but the way he plays it really benefits the team. That's how it goes in the game. What we can do is learn from them and get back better,” Kohli remarked.
The next Twenty20 International is in Melbourne on November 23 but Kohli was not too bothered about the loss. “On the day, if we can have three-four guys to stand up for the team, that's what we want. Don't have much time to think of things, which can be a good thing as well as a bad thing,” Kohli said.