Adelaide: Virat Kohli slammed an unbeaten 90 before a collective effort by the Indian bowlers gave the visitors a resounding start in the Twenty20 cricket series against Australia with a 37-run victory in the first match at Adelaide on Tuesday.
The in-form Kohli faced 55 balls in his whirlwind knock, which was laced by nine fours and two sixes, to give India a respectable total of 188 for three after being put into bat at the Adelaide Oval. The Indians then bundled the hosts for 151 in 19.3 overs to record only their second win on the tour so far, with two more T20 matches in Melbourne (January 29) and Sydney (January 31) remaining. The win was certainly an ideal Republic Day gift for the Indian fans.
Chasing 189, Australia got off to a rollicking start with Aaron Finch (44 runs, 33 balls, 4 fours, 2 sixes) and David Warner (17) plundering runs off Ashish Nehra (1-30) and Ravichandran Ashwin’s (2-28) first over.
The score read 34 for no loss at the end of three overs, when Jasprit Bumrah (3-23) was brought into the attack. He bowled well to apply brakes, giving away only 3 runs in his first over, and then removing Warner in the sixth over, caught at mid-on.
The Australian 50-mark came up later in that over, as Steve Smith (21) joined Finch in the middle and the duo added 42 runs for the 2nd wicket, looking in control. They were harsh on debutant Hardik Pandya (2-37) who was taken for 19 runs in his first over in international cricket, inclusive of five wides. But Ravindra Jadeja (2-21) bowled superbly in the middle overs, dismissing Smith in the ninth over, caught at mid-on.
The initiative was wrested back to India when Ashwin returned to trap Finch LBW in the 10th over, and when Jadeja did the same to Travis Head (2) in the next over, the Men in Blue were well on top as Australia had lost three wickets for four runs, crossing the 100-mark in the 12th over.
The run-rate was getting ahead of the hosts at that stage, and while Shane Watson (12) hit a couple lusty blows to calm the dressing room, they needed a few more of those and he was dismissed going for a big one against Ashwin, caught by Nehra at short fine leg.
It was left to Chris Lynn (17) to come up with some big hits like he did in the Big Bash League, but Dhoni threw the ball to Pandya for one more go. And the youngster delivered this time around, snapping up both Lynn and Matthew Wade (5) in two balls, across the 15th and 17th overs respectively, to revive his night.