Australia won a low-scoring T20 in Vizag against India on Sunday by three wickets off the last ball of the game with the slow batting of veteran wicketkeeper MS Dhoni (29 not out off 37 balls) – who refused multiple singles in the death overs – the main talking point.
Glenn Maxwell proved his match-winning abilities on even a challenging surface like the one in Vizag by smashing 56 from 43 balls as Australia chased down a target of 127.
The sluggish nature of the surface meant India were always in the hunt. Even as Maxwell and D’Arcy Short (37 off 37) took the total closer to 100 with eight wickets in hand, the Indians hung in there. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal created an opening by dismissing Maxwell. Australia needed 29 from the last five overs when Short was run-out after a mix-up with Peter Handscomb. Left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya gave away just five runs and bowled Ashton Turner to bring the equation down to 21 from the last three.
A sensational penultimate over by Jasprit Bumrah (3-16) where he conceded just two runs and got the scalps of Handscomb and Nathan Coulter-Nile made it 14 from the final six balls. But an off-colour Umesh Yadav failed to nail his yorkers consistently as bowlers Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins hit him for a boundary each. Two were needed off the last ball for an Aussie win and the visitors scampered two runs on the throw towards mid-on to win the match.
Dhoni has refused 8 runs. Not sure how to defend that... never mind there was no other batsman to support him. #IndvAus— Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) February 24, 2019
However, the match will be remembered for Dhoni’s knock. MSD has polarised opinions with his extremely cautious approach to batting in the past season or so. That approach has not always ended up in desired results for the Indian team. On Sunday, Dhoni’s ultra cautious approach generated extreme reactions.
Dhoni was batting on 19 off 22 balls with India 109-7 with three overs to go. With Yuzvendra Chahal batting at the other end, Dhoni refused as many as eight singles in the final three overs and ended up hitting just one six and finishing on 29 off 37 balls. In a game of close margins, that tactic backfired.
India’s innings was earlier held together by KL Rahul who made a fine 50 off just 36 balls while Virat Kohli hit 24 off 17.
Of late, India have rested a number of players for T20 assignments to manage their workload. But with this being the last international assignment before the IPL and then the World Cup, India will be fielding a full-strength side in the two match T20 series.
The preceding India-Australia T20 series was shared 1-1 while the Indians lost the subsequent T20 series in New Zealand 2-1.
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The Indian cricket board has expressed concerns about the safety its players and Indian fans at the upcoming World Cup in England.
The atmosphere in India is tense after a recent deadly attack in Jammu & Kashmir while relations with Pakistan have reached a low.
After a meeting between the Committee of Administrator and BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, it was decided to ask the cricketing community to end relations “with countries from which terrorism emanates”.
“Most countries from which the members of the ICC hail (including the United Kingdom) have strongly condemned this terrorist attack and expressed solidarity with India. BCCI urges the cricketing community to sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanates,” the board statement said.
The BCCI further stated that it fears for the safety of its players, officials and fans and while it has faith in the security apparatus in England, BCCI “reserves all its rights and entitlements in this regard”.
“BCCI fears for the safety and security of players and match officials participating in upcoming ICC events including the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The BCCI also wishes to express its concerns over the safety and security of fans of Indian cricket at the upcoming World Cup. The BCCI trusts that the ICC and ECB will ensure that the most robust security is provided to players, match officials and fans of Indian cricket,” the statement said.