India v Australia T20: Aussies win Vizag thriller as MS Dhoni refuses eight singles in final three overs

Ajit Vijaykumar 21:17 24/02/2019
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Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson won the first T20 in Vizag for Australia.

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.

GO-SLOW DHONI

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.

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