India top-order sets up second T20 win over Australia
Hosts win by 44 runs after piling up 235/4 in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, taking a 2-0 lead in the five-match series
Riding on another powerful batting display and an outstanding spell by leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, India defeated Australia by 44 runs in the second T20I in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Like the opening match in Visakhapatnam, more than 400 runs were scored once again, but this time India ensured it wasn’t a close contest. Asked to bat first, they posted 235/4 as the top three registered half-centuries. Australia put up a fight through the middle overs but fell well short eventually, finishing on 191/9 in their 20 overs.
Steve Smith and Matthew Short gave the visitors a good start in the chase before Bishnoi stamped his authority on the contest. He cleaned up Short with a googly and followed that up by dismissing last game’s centurion Josh Inglis as well. Glenn Maxwell and Smith fell in quick succession thereafter and it seemed India would earn a massive win.
Australia, however, launched a fightback with Marcus Stoinis and Tim David raising an 81-run partnership for the fifth wicket. They needed 97 runs to win off 40 balls and there was a look of concern on skipper Suryakumar Yadav’s face. But once again, Bishnoi provided the breakthrough by getting rid of David. The 23-year-old, who had dropped two catches in the last game and was India’s most expensive bowler, showed character to bounce back and finish with figures of 3/32.
Stoinis couldn’t go on to get a big one either as Australia lost five wickets for 15 runs in the span of 21 balls. There was a bit of a flurry towards the end as skipper Matthew Wade hit an unbeaten 42 off 23 balls, but the asking rate had climbed too high and the outcome was never in doubt.
Earlier, it seemed to be a good toss for Wade to win. Both teams knew dew would be a factor and the pitch, with patches of grass, could assist spin. Australia bulked up their spin department with that in mind, bringing in World Cup winners Adam Zampa and Maxwell in place of Jason Behrendorff and Aaron Hardie. Travis Head, the hero from the final, was rested again.
India, however, went in with the winning combination from the first T20I, and despite losing the toss they found themselves in a strong position at the end of the powerplay thanks to a brilliant 24-ball half-century by Yashasvi Jaiswal.
The 21-year-old took his time to settle down as Stoinis conceded 10 runs in the first over of the innings and Nathan Ellis gave three in the second. But the sequence of the next four overs was this: 15 runs off Maxwell, 24 off Sean Abbott, 10 off Adam Zampa and 15 off Ellis. India added 64 runs in those overs, achieving their third-highest powerplay score at 77/1.
Jaiswal was dismissed off the penultimate ball of the powerplay by Ellis for a 25-ball 53, but be had done his job by then. The left-hander struck boundaries either side of the pitch, cutting and pulling with disdain to lay a strong platform for his team.
India’s innings was of three parts. After the powerplay, Australia got back in the game, conceding just 47 runs off the next 42 balls as leg-spinners Zampa and Tanveer Sangha bowled well in tandem. But then came the second onslaught by India that saw 111 runs hammered off 42 balls.
It was a collective batting effort by India that helped them register their fifth-highest score in T20 Internationals. Vice-captain Ruturaj Gaikwad wasn’t at his fluent best in a 43-ball 58, but the knock would’ve boosted his confidence after he was run-out without facing a ball in the series opener.
From the other end, though, India found fireworks aplenty thanks to Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar, Rinku Singh and Tilak Varma. Kishan was batting on 26 off 22 balls at one point before he cut loose and smashed 26 off the next 18 balls he faced. The left-hander stuck to his strengths and swung hard, hitting three fours and four sixes in his knock.
Suryakumar Yadav began his innings with a trademark six over fine-leg but he couldn’t go on to get a big one, chasing what would’ve been a wide, like Kishan had done earlier, to find the fielder in the deep. But the skipper’s 10-ball 19 kept the momentum going.
At that point, India were 189/3 with 14 balls left. The stage was set for Rinku Singh to take over and he did so in style. The 26-year-old reinforced his status as one of India’s finest finishers with an unbeaten 31 off nine balls. His still base, clarity of thought and clean bat swing worked wonders again as India ended up getting a huge total.
Tilak Varma also chipped in with seven runs off two balls as Abbott and Ellis were taken for 45 runs between them in the last two overs, pushing Australia into a corner from they never could free themselves.
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