Adelaide: India batsman Virat Kohli struck an unbeaten 55-ball 90 to help India post a challenging 188 for three against Australia in the first Twenty20 International here today.
Put into bat at the Adelaide Oval, Kohli notched up his highest score in this format and put on 134 runs for the third wicket with Suresh Raina (41 runs, 34 balls, 3 fours, 1 six) to dominate the Australian attack.
Opener Rohit Sharma (31 runs, 20 balls, 4 fours, 1 six) set the ball rolling with a four and a six in the first over bowled by Shaun Tait (0-45). Thanks to Rohit, the run-rate shot up easily, with ten-per-over coming easily in the first four overs even as Shikhar Dhawan (5) was out early.
Cameron Boyce dropped Rohit in the 4th over, but it didn’t cost Australia too much. Shane Watson (2-24) struck in the very next over as Rohit departed after an explosive start, caught at mid on. It became a double blow for India as Dhawan played an ugly shot four balls later, off a bouncer, only to be caught behind.
Kohli and Raina came together then, and went about rebuilding the Indian innings. They kept up the tempo initially, taking advantage of the power play overs as the 50 -mark came up in the 6th over.
Indeed for the first nine overs, the Men in Blue were scoring at over eight-per-over, but Watson and Boyce (0-23) had managed to pull things back a bit, despite Kohli hitting out against the leg-spinner.
Their 50-partnership came up in the 12th over, off 39 balls, while Kohli reached his 10th T20I half-century off only 32 balls in the 14th over. There was an urgent need to up the scoring thereafter, but early on Raina looked rusty in his shot making even as his partner had no difficulty in finding the gaps.
India had reached the 100-mark in the 13th over and Kohli brought out the big guns thereafter, attacking the bowlers and picking boundaries at ease, thus crossing his highest individual score in T20I cricket.
The 150-mark came up in the 18th over as there was an urgency outlined by both the batsmen. The score read 160 for two at the end of the 18th over. Raina was finally bowled in the final over by James Faulkner (1-43).
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (11 not out) marched to the crease then, and smacked a six and a four straight away, as 28 runs came off the final two overs.
Earlier the hosts handed Travis Head his debut, while Chris Lynn, Watson and Tait returned to the international fold. India too brought in Hardik Pandya for his international debut, while Jasprit Bumrah was handed his first T20I cap.