Sunday, 5 December 2021

Australia’s batting woes continue against India in opening T20 loss


RANCHI: Even a change of format hasn’t been able to stop Australia’s batting collapses, with India easily chasing down a reduced target in the rain-curtailed first T20 international.

The visitors lost 7-69 in Ranchi as they limped to 8-118 before weather ended their innings with eight balls remaining.

After a delay of almost two hours, India were given six overs to chase 48, a score they hunted down with three balls to spare.

Rohit Sharma made 11 off seven balls before Nathan Coulter-Nile found a way through his defences to claim the only wicket of the innings. Indian skipper Virat Kohli (22 off 14) and opener Shikhar Dhawan (15 off 12) did the rest, cruising to 1-49 after smashing three boundaries each.

Australia will have to win tomorrow’s match in Guwahati to avoid another series loss, after a deflating 4-1 drubbing in the one-day internationals.

Aaron Finch picked up where he left off in the ODIs, top scoring with 42 from 30 balls.

“I thought after we got off to a pretty good start with the bat, obviously losing our way through the middle order again,” Finch said. “But it was a very challenging wicket to start on in particular against the spin.

“The guys were formulating a plan quite nicely, we just seemed to keep losing wickets at the wrong time.”

Finch smashed five boundaries including a six before a crafty piece of bowling from left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav turned him inside out and clattered into the stumps. Yadav (2-16 off four overs) had his second victim when Moises Henriques (eight) advanced down the wicket to a leg break which kept low, clean bowling him. Stand-in skipper Dave Warner was out in the first over after chopping a seaming delivery from Kumar onto his stumps. He made eight with the help of two boundaries. Injured captain Steve Smith ran the drinks and returned to Australia yesterday.

Glenn Maxwell couldn’t play himself into form, struggling for his 17. Maxwell pulled a long hop straight to midwicket off Yuzvendra Chahal who has claimed Maxwell’s wicket in all four of the Victorian’s innings on the tour.

Australia’s middle order again failed when needed, mimicking their efforts in the ODIs.

Travis Head (nine), Tim Paine (17) and Coulter-Nile (one) completed the sextet of Australians who were bowled.

“Especially after winning the toss and bowling first, that effort was required,” Kohli said.

“We don’t really understand the Duckworth-Lewis method. After getting them down to 118, we thought it would only be 40 or something. 48 was tricky

“It has been a combined effort of the players. But also the management group who have given great ideas in getting specialist players for formats,” he added.

“Giving the youngsters chances … Wrist spinners if you give them confidence, they will get hit for one game but five games they will get you wickets and turn the game around on its head.”

“At the end of the day, it’s a poor result for us. We have to be better next game,” said a disappointed Warner.

Meanwhile, in the domestic one-day cup competition, a brilliant century by NSW opener Nic Maddinson propelled the Blues to a 93-run win against the Cricket Australia XI. Player-of-the-match Maddinson blasted 123 off 113 balls, including 10 fours and three sixes, as the Blues posted a total of 8-332 from their 50 overs.

In reply, the CA XI suffered a middle order collapse, with NSW earning a bonus point when they bowled their opponents out for 239 in 41 overs.

Former Test wicketkeeper Peter Nevill was involved in a world record-equalling eight dismissals for List A matches – taking six catches and affecting two stumpings.

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