1st T20I: Hardik, Rahul fifties power India to 208-6 against Australia
Mohali, September 20, 2022
Brilliant fifties by Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul and a vital knock by Suryakumar Yadav powered India to 208/6 against Australia in the first T20I of the three-match series at the Punjab Cricket Association I S Bindra Stadium, here on Tuesday.
While India lost the wickets of Rohit and Kohli inside the first six overs, there was a great show of intent by Hardik (71 not out off 30), KL Rahul (55 off 35) and Suryakumar (46 off 25).
Put in to bat first, India made a sedate start as the Australian pacers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins were getting some movement off the pitch. India openers Rohit Sharma and K L Rahul had to come down the track to counter that.
With runs not coming easily, Rohit tried to counterattack by playing some risky shots and hit Cummins for a lucky six and four. He got lucky once but while going for another flick shot, the India skipper got out as Nathan Ellis took a fine running catch coming in from deep midwicket.
India had high hopes from the man in form, Virat Kohli but he couldn't do much as Australia had their plans worked out well for him. Adam Zampa came on early to build up a series of dot balls and after scoring 3 off 7, Kohli tried to get under Nathan Ellis but presented a simple catch to mid-on, leaving India at 35-2 after 4.5 overs.
From there on, Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav built a solid partnership of 68 runs and brought India back into the game.
After taking his sweet time, Rahul didn't miss out on anything in his hitting zone and especially his pick-up shot was top-notch and got him a couple of sixes. On the other hand, Suryakumar also was complementing Rahul well with regular boundaries as the duo didn't let the run-rate slow down and took India to 86/2 after 10 overs.
Rahul, who has been criticised for his slow strike rate, scored his half-century off just 32 balls and was on course to take India to a big total. But, on a pick-up shot, he found a fielder at the fine-leg fence.
After Rahul's wicket, Suryakumar became more attacking and smashed back-to-back sixes off Adam Zampa. But in the next over, he tried to nudge Cameron Green to third man and ended up edging to the 'keeper. The left-hander Axar Patel was sent in ahead of Dinesh Karthik but he managed just a boundary in his five-ball stay before getting out to Nathan Ellis on a slower ball.
At 146-5 in 15.5 overs, it was up to Hardik Pandya and Karthik to finish well for India. While Karthik was disappointed by scoring only six runs, Hardik shone like a star.
The all-rounder got to his half-century in just 26 balls to do some backend lifting. Hardik hit the last three balls of the innings, bowled by Cameron Green, for three sixes and helped India finish with 208/6 in 20 Overs.
For Australia, medium pacer Nathan Ellis 3/30 was the pick of the bowlers.
Brief scores: India 208/6 in 20 overs (Hardik Pandya 71 not out, KL Rahul 55; Nathan Elis 3/30, Josh Hazlewood 2/39) vs Australia.