India continued their dream run in the ICC World T20 as they pounded a listless Australia by a whopping 73-run margin to emerge group 2 champions with an all-win record, here on Sunday.
Put into bat, India scored 159 for seven with Yuvraj Singh showing glimpses of his destructive self with an innings of 60. On a slow track, Yuvraj initially struggled before blasting four sixes and five boundaries in a 43-ball knock.
Indian bowlers then faced little problems in skittling out the Aussies for a meagre 86 in 16.2 overs as Ravichandran Ashwin registered dominating figures of 3.2—0—11—4. This was India’s most facile win in a T20 match.
The intensity was right there for the entire duration even in an inconsequential match as India would certainly be favourites going into the semi-final encounter for the first time in seven years.
None of the Australian batsmen could show stomach for fight as Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men excelled in all departments yet again. The Aussies were clueless against the spinners, circumspect against the pacers and the Indian fielders were excellent throughout the duration.
Ashwin got the first breakthrough when Finch tried to slog him and Kohli took a simple catch at mid-on. Cameron White (0) looked distinctly short of match practice as he miscued while trying to drive Bhuvneshwar Kumar on the up and Ravindra Jadeja judged it well running backwards from his mid-on position.
Young Mohit Sharma, getting the first match in place of Mohammed Shami, then bowled an off-cutter which breached through Shane Watson (1)’s defence. Watson’s sequence of scores in this World T20 has been 4, 2, 1.
David Warner (19) and Glenn Maxwell (23) can win matches on their day but they were simply interested in trying to slog the spinners across the line. Watson’s slog sweep off Ashwin was taken brilliantly by Rohit Sharma running forward from his deep mid-wicket boundary position.
It was 44 for four and the match was sealed when Maxwell tried an audacious reverse sweep off the Tamil Nadu tweaker to get bowled. Operating from the leg-stump line, it was a straighter one and only the batsman was to blame for his downfall. With half of the team back in the dug-out before the completion of 10 overs, the match was all but sealed.
Skipper George Bailey (8) hit a six and the second cross-batted heave was his dismissal. Brad Haddin (6) on current form wouldn’t have lasted longer against Amit Mishra as Australia was down on their knees at 75 for seven.
Earlier, Yuvraj finally got some form going his way with an impressive 60 as it enabled India to post a competitive total on the board.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni also played the role of second fiddle to perfection contributing 24 in an 84-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Dhoni lost the first toss in the tournament and as Ashwin had said yesterday, were forced “swim a tsunami” considering the adverse conditions for batting first on a slow Sher-e-Bangla track.
It wasn’t conducive for strokeplay as the Indian batsmen found out while trying to set a decent target. The Australian slow bowlers did a decent job in these conditions as India managed only 59 in the first 10 overs.
Australia opened their bowling with Brad Hodge and he got success removing the in-form Rohit Sharma (6) with a slider which the player tried to drive but got a thickish outside edge which went to James Muirhead standing at backward point.
Virat Kohli started with a slog sweep off Glenn Maxwell that went for a six and followed it by guiding Mitchell Starc to the third man boundary. But it didn’t last long enough as he tried to hoist leggie Muirhead over long-off but failed to clear Cameron White stationed for that catch. Kohli’s 23 came off 22 deliveries with two fours and a six.
Ajinkya Rahane was gone when Bollinger got a delivery to pitch on the off-middle line, which moved a shade with Rahane trying to steer it down. Brad Haddin held a regulation catch.
He scored 19 off 16 balls but couldn’t utilize the opportunity he got due to Shikhar Dhawan’s failure. India were reeling at 52 for three when Suresh Raina joined Yuvraj.
Yuvraj was nervous from the onset as he was not middling the ball. A couple of times, he even misjudged the singles which could have cost India a wicket.
Raina also looked in trouble as the slowness of the pitch affected his stroke-making. Trying to hit his way out of trouble, the left-hander tried to hoist Maxwell but was caught by Aaron Finch at long-on. Raina managed only six.
Yuvraj finally broke shackles when Muirhead bowled successive half-trackers which were posted in the deep mid-wicket stands as 17 runs came of that particular over which was the 14th of the innings. The first one bounced more than the second one but both met with the same fate.
Dhoni also got into the act after settling down as he first lifted Bollinger for a boundary over extra-cover and then hooked Starc for a six. Then came the shot of the innings when Yuvraj just stood and hit Starc over deep extra cover for a stunning six. Yuvraj reached his half-century off 37 balls when he deposited a Watson full-toss over deep square leg for a six.