India take 1-0 lead in rain-affected game

When it rains, it pours, and Ranchi was no exception. The match might have been cut short by rain but that did not prevent a deluge of Australian wickets from falling before a brief stoppage nor a furious flurry of strokes that saw India cross the line with consummate ease.

The toss went in Team India’s favour and Virat Kohli opted to field first considering the weather. Australia had a new captain in David Warner as Steven Smith returned home due to a shoulder injury. Incidentally, this was David Warner’s 6th match as an Australian captain and the 6th toss in a row that he has lost. Australia handed Jason Behrendorff his maiden T20I cap.

David Warner started his innings in style as he struck two boundaries but Bhuvneshwar Kumar came back hard and took his wicket when the southpaw dragged it back onto his stumps. Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell looked to rebuild and did a decent job till the end of the Powerplay as Australia scored 49/1 in the first 6 overs. Yuzvedra Chahal got his man once again when he sent Maxwell back to the dressing room when the Australian tried to smash one to the leg side but instead played it straight to Jasprit Bumrah at short mid-wicket.

Aaron Finch continued his top form in the series by hitting regular boundaries. However, a half century was not to be. Kuldeep Yadav bowled a full length delivery and Finch missed it completely, only to see his stumps disturbed. The devil’s number haunted Australia when Moises Henriques tried to hit a biggie off Kuldeep Yadav but the chinaman got the better of the Australian all-rounder, instead. Hardik Pandya got his name in the wickets’ column when he dismissed Travis Head and Australia had lost half their side.

Jasprit Bumrah took two wickets in an over when he dismissed Tim Paine and Nathan Coulter-Nile. Both of them were dismissed ‘bowled’ to mark a dubious record for Australia. It was the first time the Aussies had lost 6 wickets marked as bowled in a T20I innings. It began to drizzle and Australia continued losing wickets at regular intervals. The rain picked up and a break was signalled in the 19th over of the innings. The rain continued and Australia ended their innings on 118/8.

Eventually, the rain let up and the ground staff went back to work removing the covers. India were chasing a target of 48 runs in 6 overs. Rohit Sharma started off the chase in style with a boundary off the very first ball against Behrendorff. He followed it up with a six later on against Nathan Coulter-Nile but fell to him soon after. Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli kept scoring the odd boundary in an over and India were almost cruising. It went down to the last over but India chased down the target without any fuss to go 1-0 up in the 3-match series.

It was India’s 7th consecutive win against Australia in T20Is and the first loss for Australia under David Warner’s captaincy. It was another batting failure for Australia while India delivered another clinical performance. The action now moves to Guwahati where Australia will look to stay alive in the series. Can the Aussies come back hard in the second T20I? It remains to be seen.

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