Sports Monks

Australia vs India T20Is: Three reasons why India lost to Australia

Australia pipped India in the first T20 International by four runs to take the lead and start the home series on a positive note. Both sides had their highs and lows throughout the flow of proceedings, but a total of 174 in 17 overs proved to be too much for the Men in Blue to chase down. As a result, the visitors fell just short in a game that went right down to the wire.

Virat Kohli had won the toss and put Australia to bat first. His bowlers responded in a professional fashion, restricting the opposition to just 24 of their first four overs. A flurry of sixes from Chris Lynn and a late yet solid partnership between Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, who added 78 runs for the fourth wicket in just 37 deliveries ensured a healthy total of 158-4 in 17 overs. Due to the DL method in the rain-hit encounter, India were handed a target of 174.

Right from the outset, Shikhar Dhawan looked in devastating touch. He struck 76 of just 42 balls and at one instance, it looked like India would run away with the match. However, an inspirational middle overs spell of 2-22 from Adam Zampa pulled things back for the Aussies. On the back of consistent pressure applied by Zampa and Stoinis, Dhawan saw himself caught at third man while trying to reduce the asking rate.

An expensive over of 25 runs by Andrew Tye made life difficult for Aaron Finch’s side, but a fine last over from Stoinis took them over the line by a small margin.

Here are three reasons why India lost to Australia: 

#3 A couple of costly overs in the first innings

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah had started the tour almost perfectly for India. It was all going well for them as the Aussies had to work had for their 42 runs from the first 7 overs. Then comes in 20-year-old Khaleel Ahmed for his second over. In his first, he had picked up the wicket of D’Arcy Short and only given away seven runs. However, he was treated differently by the crowd favourite Chris Lynn, who took him to the cleaners.  With three sixes and 21 runs scored of that over, the run rate skyrocketed to almost 8 an over in the space of six deliveries.

His third over went for 14 and his evening went from bad to worse. The very next over, Krunal Pandya was targeted by Maxwell, who struck three maximums in as many balls to put Australia in a commanding position.

Apart from these two overs that together went for 44 runs, there were a couple of other average overs by the Indians – a situation expected in a T20 contest. These 12 balls though, which comprised of 6 sixes, took the game away from Kohli’s troops.

#2 Lack of support for Shikhar Dhawan 

The Indians kick-started their innings brilliantly well, but a series of wickets fell at regular intervals, which meant that Dinesh Karthik was left with more to do than what he already achieved with the bat. Even his blistering knock of 30 runs off 13 balls proved to be little.

Virat Kohli and co. just couldn’t help Dhawan in the middle and stitch a partnership with the southpaw. On one hand, he started off positively. It was an innings where he completely relied on the pitch’s bounce and his piece of timing, which is a treat to the eye.

Not once did it look like he intended to over hit the white cherry or smash it outside the park. Be it his cover drives, flick off the pads or the lofted straight drive that maximized the very usage of power play, he looked on top of his game. The ball where he got out too, the 32-year-old hit it sweetly but just couldn’t clear the mammoth frame of Jason Behrendorff on the boundary ropes.

Right from the word go, he stepped outside his crease to nullify the movement and bounce, illustrating his astute approach. Then, he stood firm and set himself for the rest of his innings.

What surrounded him albeit, was a set of failures. His partner-in-crime, Rohit Sharma, tried to apply himself but never got going. He misjudged the bounce of a Behrendorff delivery and ended up being caught at mid-off for a paltry score of seven. KL Rahul, who has been blowing hot and cold in recent times, only managed 13 off 12 balls.

The skipper came in, looking to take his team home, but failed to make a mark in his first innings back in Australia. He was caught at third-man for four.

Due to these three wickets, Dhawan looked to play a little bit more aggressive and hence, fell short of what could have been match-winning innings.

#1 Batting order mismatch 

India arguably have the best batting line-up in world cricket across all three formats. However, every batting line-up needs to deploy certain specific plans, roles to each willow-wielder and depth. The Indians though did not follow that agenda.

With the required rate run set at over 10 per over even before the first ball was bowled, we knew it wasn’t going to be a plain sail for India. Rohit fell early, but at that moment, the country needed their talisman, their chase master in Virat Kohli to allow Dhawan to play his game and then take over and ultimately, carry his team home.

That didn’t quite happen. The first game of the series against a quality opponent, KL Rahul was sent at the all-important number 3 position. Apart from his first and last innings against England, the Karnataka-born batsman wasn’t in the best of touches. For him to be sent at one down with huge responsibility, was a bit of a gamble from Kohli’s side. As many would expect, it turned out to be a failure for both batters.

Then, India sent in the explosive Rishabh Pant before Dinesh Karthik. Although Pant can score at a frenetic pace and has certainly got more muscle than the latter, Karthik has the experience and guile to finish an innings. It’s not all about power hitting, and the veteran has shown that before at this stage.

Pant did play his part in his 20 of 15 deliveries but had Karthik faced around five-six more balls, the story and the outcome might have been different.

 

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