Australia had survived a blitz from Shikhar Dhawan (76) and was in a comfortable position when India needed 60 off 24 balls. However, Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant had other ideas as they blasted a six and a four each off Andrew Tye to get the equation back in India’s favour. Karthik had done it before in the Nidahas Trophy 2018 final against Bangladesh when his 29 off 8 balls helped India chase down 34 in 12. The right-hander found the boundaries on a regular basis and the equation boiled down to 13 off the last over. However, Pant attempted an audacious scoop off Marcus Stoinis that resulted in a top edge and was caught for 15. Karthik perished next ball for an aggressive 13-ball 30 and Australia held their nerve to clinch the first Twenty20 International at Brisbane on Wednesday by four runs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The odds were stacked against India when the rain had reduced the game to a 17-overs-per-side match. Australia had reached 158/4 at the end of 17 overs and India needed to chase a revised target of 174. Dhawan started off aggressively, slamming five boundaries in four overs. Rohit Sharma struggled to get going and miscued a flick shot off Jason Behrendorff to be caught for 7. Despite losing Rohit, Dhawan’s aggression continued and he tore into the left-arm pace of Behrendorff, hitting him for two fours and a six to reach his ninth fifty.
Zampa spell crucial
The arrival of legspinner Adam Zampa changed the complexion of the game. He maintained tight lines to the Indian batsmen and the pressure resulted in KL Rahul being stumped for 13. Zampa’s lines and length were immaculate and it resulted in the big scalp of Virat Kohli for 4. Getting the Indian skipper out cheaply for 4 in a run-chase was gold-dust for Australia. The middle-overs spell by Zampa, who finished with 2/22 off his four overs and some clever bowling from Stoinis meant India’s required rate got slightly out of hand.
Zampa’s spell complimented the earlier efforts of the batsmen, who targeted the Indian spinners and gave the team momentum after they were inserted into bat on a greenish Gabba deck.
Maxwell, Lynn punish India
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah started well in the opening overs. India did not help their cause when Virat Kohli dropped Aaron Finch of the bowling off Jasprit Bumrah in the fourth over. The Australian skipper helped himself to two boundaries but he lost his opening partner D’Arcy Short to Khaleel Ahmed for 7. Chris Lynn, whose Twenty20 career has flourished at the Gabba due to his presence for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League, tore into Khaleel by hammering three sixes in the seventh over, including one which went 108 metres into the top-tier. Kuldeep Yadav struck twice in two overs by getting rid of Finch (27) and Lynn (37).
Stoinis missed a reverse sweep off Kuldeep and was adjudged LBW. Maxwell furiously told him to take the review and replays showed it was missing the stumps. That proved to be crucial in the context of the game as both batsmen strung a solid partnership. In the 14th over, Maxwell blasted three consecutive sixes off Krunal Pandya as the bowler leaked 55 runs in his four overs. With 36 runs coming off two overs, Australia was on course for a big score before the rain came. However, the 78-run stand and thanks to the DLS calculations, Australia managed to hold their nerve to take some confidence into the next game in Melbourne.