After a humiliating exit from the Asia Cup, India's poor run in the T20Is continued as Australia defeated the hosts by 4 wickets in Mohali on Tuesday. Despite putting a formidable total of 208/6 in 20 overs, Indian bowlers couldn't stop the Aussie batsmen from reaching the target in the last over.
After back-to-back defeats against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, India had thrashed Afghanistan in the last game of Asia Cup. Virat Kohli had scored a brilliant hundred and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had taken a five-for to show that the team is back on track.
But against Australia, the bowling looked below par on a wicket that was a paradise for batsmen. Three dropped catches further hampered India's chances as Cameroon Green (61 off 30) and Mathew Wade's (45 not out off 21) brilliant knocks took Australia to victory.
The visitors have now taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series just a month before the T20 World Cup.
We take a look at 10 key points from the first T20I:
Mohali wicket a batting paradise: Mohali wicket and that super-quick outfield was nothing less than a paradise for the batsmen. And a nightmare for bowlers, especially the pace bowlers, as the ball was just racing away to the boundary. A total of 419 runs were scored at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali in 39.2 overs.
KL Rahul back in form: The doubts over KL Rahul opening the innings in the T20Is took a backseat as the Karnataka batsmen came back in form with a brilliant 55-run knock off 35 balls with four 4s and three sixes. Rahul looked confident and was picking up the deliveries easily and hitting them all around the ground.
Suryakumar Yadav's cracking knock: This seems like Suryakumar Yadav's year in the T20Is. The swashbuckling batsmen has been in brilliant form for the last few months. And on Tuesday also he was hitting the Aussie bowlers, especially the spinners at will. His 46-run knock off 25 balls with two 4s and four sixes put India on top.
Hardik hammers Aussie bowlers: Hardik Pandya is the most valuable player in India at the moment if not in the world. He has been giving match-winning performances in almost every other game in 2022. During his 71-run not out knock off just 30 balls, Hardik hammered premium Aussie bowlers like Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. He hit seven 4s and five sixes, which included three sixes on the last three balls of the innings.
Nathan Ellis picks up 3 wickets: Right-arm pacer Nathan Ellis was the top bowler for Australia as he picked up 3 wickets, giving away just 30 runs. His change in pace made it difficult for Indian batsmen to hit him for big shots. He picked up the wickets of Kohli, Dinesh Karthik and Axar Patel.
Cameroon Green's carnage: 209-run target was going to be a huge task in 20 overs anywhere in the world, even if the wicket was a batting paradise. Cameroon Green's counter-attack caught Indian bowlers by surprise. It was like as if he was doing net practice hitting Indian pacers with no regard. Green, who is not a part of Australia's World T20 squad, scored 61 off just 30 balls with eight 4s and four sixes.
Ineffective bowling from Indian pacers: Of all the other reasons, the most important one for India's loss was the ineffective bowling performance from Indian pacers. There was no swing for both Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and the batters were able to hitting them all around the ground, making the Indian attack look very ordinary. Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave away 52 runs in 4 overs without taking any wicket.
Axar Patel's exceptional spell: With other Indian bowlers getting thrashed by Australian batsmen, Axar Patel's performance kept India in the game till the end. The spinner was very tight with his line and didn't let the batsmen play easily against him. He picked up 3 wickets in 4 overs gave just 17 runs.
Matthew Wade the finisher: Matthew Wade has played some great finishing knocks for Australia in the recent past and that's why he didn't look tensed even when the required rate was above 12 at one stage. The wicketkeeper-batter scored a brilliant 45 not out off 21 balls with six 4s and two sixes to take Australia to victory in 19.2 overs.
Dropped catches from India: While Indian bowlers were struggling, a poor fielding show further killed India's chances. India dropped some crucial catches, which would have turned the course of the game. Green was dropped on 42, Steve Smith (35 off 24 balls) received a life on 19, while Mathew Wade was dropped when he was batting at 23.