Mohammed Shami’s brilliant last over saw a dramatic change of fortunes for India, who were on the ropes for much of the Australian chase, as Rohit Sharma’s men earned a six-run win at the Gabba in Brisbane on Monday.
Needing 11 to win from the last over after being set 188 to win, a mixture of Shami’s bowling nous, Virat Kohli’s fielding and a lack of composure from the hosts gave India the narrow win. Four wickets fell in the last over after Australia were on course, courtesy of Aaron Finch’s aggressive 54-ball knock of 76.
After being put into bat by Finch, skipper Rohit was merely a spectator as Rahul came out all guns blazing in the powerplay. Rahul was at his elegant best, picking up boundaries with ease and brought up a quick-fire half-century. The opener’s knock was peppered with six fours and three sixes before being removed by Maxwell for 57, which came from just 33 deliveries.
After Rahul’s belligerent start, the Australian bowlers put the brakes on the scoring somewhat and removed Rohit Sharma, Kohli and Hardik Pandya in quick succession. However, Suryakumar Yadav continued from where he left all season and brought up yet another half-century. The Mumbai batter, once again, was a picture of class and innovation as he displayed his full range of strokes. Dinesh Karthik started well but couldn’t kick on to give India a 200-plus total.
Suryakumar’s thrilling knock (50 from 33) ended tamely as a Kane Richardson full-toss hit the bottom of his bat and gratefully fell into the bowler’s hands. It was one of Richardson’s four dismissals and he was easily Australia’s best bowler as senior pacers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins had a rare off day.
A total of 187 looked formidable but the Australian top order’s aggressive intent put the Indian bowlers on the backfoot straight from the powerplay. Mitchell Marsh played an important cameo to get the ball rolling for the Aussies before being bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
While Steve Smith didn’t hurt India, Glenn Maxwell certainly did during his 16-ball stay. Maxwell also suffered a nasty hit on his face after a Yuzvendra Chahal delivery deflected off his bat and struck him near the eye. The big-hitting batter wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time.
Finch was happy to rotate strike and took calculated risks to clear the fence. India’s fielding also left a lot to be desired at that stage. After the game, Rohit admitted that his side should have had at least another 20 runs on the board.
With two overs remaining, Harshal Patel produced an inspiring moment to keep India’s hopes in the game alive in the 19th over, bamboozling the well-set Finch with a slow yorker that had loop and accuracy. In the next delivery Kohli’s majestic direct hit removed the dangerous Tim David as India roared back into the contest just as it was slipping away from them.
Shami was handed the final over, his first of the match, with 11 runs needed and it was Kohli who produced another moment of beauty; running sideways and plucking out a breathtaking one-handed catch at long on, centimetres away from the boundary ropes to send Cummins back. Panic hit the Australian dressing room and the Australian lower order was no match for Shami’s toe-crushing yorkers as India completed a remarkable victory, showing nerves of steel in the death overs.
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