Vizag T20I: Australia beat India, take 1-0 series lead

Visakhapatnam: The first Twenty20 International between Australia and India saw a nail-biting finish with the guests clinching the game and taking a 1-0 lead in the series.

Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s phenomenal spell of 3/16 seemed to put India in the path of victory. However, an expensive final over from Umesh Yadav helped Australia hand the hosts their second consecutive defeat in the T20 format.

The Indian pair of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul stitched a much-needed second wicket partnership of 55 runs to bring the team to 80 for the loss of two wickets in ten overs after early losses. However, the middle-order failed to maintain the momentum as India slipped to 100 for the loss of six wickets in 15 overs.

With just five overs remaining, former skipper MS Dhoni came out to the crease and played some classy shots to remain unbeaten at 29 off 37 balls. However, the Men in Blue were restricted to 126 for the loss of seven wickets.

For Australia, Glenn Maxwell and D’Arcy Short weaved magic as they registered a solid 84-run third wicket partnership. However, Yuzvendra Chahal managed to dismiss Maxwell for 56.

Things seemed to tilt in India’s favour as D’Arcy was run out following a mixup. Ashton Turner, Peter Handscomb and Nathan Coulter-Nile too fell in succession, thus boosting the morale of the home side. However, Australia’s tail-enders Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins steered their team to a three-wicket victory in the first short format game.

Speaking to media after the match, Bumrah said India had envisioned a target of around 145 runs, but lost around two to three wickets more than they wanted to.

“On this wicket, 145 would have been a good score. There was low bounce and it became difficult to hit big shots. We lost 2-3 wickets more than we wanted to, but overall, it was a good match,” he said.

Nathan Coulter-Nile, who scalped three wickets and conceded a total of 26 runs, was adjudged Man of the Match.

The second T20I clash will be held in Bengaluru on February 27.