1st T20I: Virat Kohli and Co have an imperfect start against Australia

Updated: Nov 22, 2018, 15:58 IST | Gaurav Joshi

India end up losing T20 international series opener at the Gabba as Aaron Finch-led Australians play tighter cricket in Brisbane

1st T20I: Virat Kohli and Co have an imperfect start against Australia
Marcus Stoinis and Aaron Finch of Australia celebrate after Australia defeat India by four runs in the first game of the Twenty20 international series at The Gabba in Brisbane yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

It was a match that had plenty of peculiar moments — a mistimed slog from Glenn Maxwell that cannoned into the spider cam, a hit-wicket appeal that was overturned by the third umpire and then there was the rain that caused the match to be reduced to 17 overs per innings. Eventually, it was the brilliant spell of leg-spinner Adam Zampa that gave the home team a narrow, four-run victory via Duckworth-Lewis.

Twice India clawed themselves back into the game from unlikely scenarios in the run chase of 174 from 17 overs. First, it was Shikhar Dhawan's blitz of 76 from 42 balls that gave India hope when the required rate had crept above 10 runs an over with still over 100 runs required. Then, there was a cameo from Dinesh Karthik. Batting at No. 6 and with the equation reading 60 off 24 balls, Karthik struck four boundaries in his 13-ball knock of 30 to raise the hopes of the Indian fans.

However with 13 needed from six balls, all-rounder Marcus Stoinis held his nerve as he led Australia to a morale-boosting win. The turning point in India's run chase was the wicket of Rishabh Pant. The dynamic left-hander had brought the asking rate down alarmingly by adding 51 runs in 23 balls with Karthik, but lost his wicket by attempting an audacious reverse scoop.

Apart from the batsmen, it was the small lapses of concentration in the field that made the difference in a seesaw match. Virat Kohli dropped a simple chance off Aaron Finch in the fourth over of the match. KL Rahul opted for a direct hit instead of lobbing the ball back to the bowler and in the process missed an opportunity to run out Maxwell. Then, Khaleel Ahmed capped off a tough night by dropping the rampaging Stoinis just as he got into his groove.

The T20 game is also about taking calculated risks against the right bowlers and yesterday it was Australia that had more success than India in terms of targeting the weaker bowlers. Krunal Pandya and Khaleel conceded 97 runs.

While on a drenched outfield and a wet ball, Zampa along with all-rounder Stoinis took four wickets with them giving away only 49 runs. Zampa rarely bowled a bad ball and kept all the Indian batsmen in check by disguising his googly and bowling those back-of-the-length balls that are so stereotypical of modern-day wrist spinners. It was Zampa and the missed chances that eventually ended up costing India the match.

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