Axar Patel starred with a three-wicket haul, and Rinku Singh blazed away with a 29-ball 46 as India beat Australia by 20 runs in the fourth of the five-match T20I series at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur on Friday.
The Suryakumar Yadav-led side bounced back in style after going down to the current World Cup champion in Guwahati with a clinical performance to take an unassailable 3-1 lead.
Batting first, India rode on Rinku and Jitesh Sharma’s late blitz to post a challenging 174/9 in 20 overs. In reply, Australia was restricted to 154/7 in 20 overs. While Axar picked three, Deepak Chahar took two wickets, with Ravi Bishnoi and Avesh Khan picking one wicket each.
HIGHLIGHTS | India vs Australia 4th T20I
Axar, Bishnoi bamboozle Australia
Axar (4-0-16-3) and Bishnoi (4-0-17-1) spun a web around the Australian batsmen in conditions where there was little dew to encounter. The spinners didn’t allow the Australians to run away with the game after Josh Philippe and Travis Head provided a fiery start to the innings sending Chahar on a leather hunt.
Chahar, who was drafted in the side for the final two T20s, came a cropper as he leaked 22 runs in his second over before Suryakumar Yadav introduced spin.
Bishnoi struck in his very first ball by cleaning up Phillippe, who attempted a wild sweep shot only to see the ball sneak under his bat and crash on to the stumps. Axar, too, made an immediate impact upon arrival by removing the dangerous Travis Head. India piled pressure with the left-arm spinner picking his second wicket in a space of eight balls by castling Aaron Hardie and then earning his third with a slower delivery that pegged back the off-pole of Ben McDermott.
Tim David and Matthew Short had a job in their hands with Australia needing 76 runs in 36 balls, and the required rate hovering close to 13 runs per over. However, Chahar came back into the attack to dismiss Tim David and Matthew Short to shut the door on Australia.
The Rinku show
Earlier, Rinku set up a batting exhibition and bossed the game during his stay at the wicket to help India post a competitive total on board.
Rinku and Jitesh Sharma forged a brilliant 56-run stand in just 32 balls for the fifth wicket, but India lost its way at the back end of the innings and imploded at the death, losing five wickets and scoring just 13 runs in the last two overs.
Rinku was at his imperious best and peppered the big boundaries with four hits to the fence and two massive sixes, taking the attack to the opposition. Walking in with India in a spot of bother, the southpaw first joined hands with Ruturaj Gaikwad to stitch an important 48-run stand for the fourth wicket in 31 balls and then found an able partner in Jitesh to help India cross the 150-run mark.
ALSO READ | Chahal says he enjoys 50-over cricket more than T20s on return to India’s ODI squad for South Africa tour
Jitesh, playing his first game of the series, was off the blocks in a flash with a couple of sixes—first over the deep square leg and then thumped Chris Green over long-off as India pressed on the accelerator after a solid start from Australia.
The evening, however, saw India losing wickets at crucial intervals, and in the penultimate over, Ben Dwarshuis struck twice to remove Jitesh and Axar to apply brakes on India’s charge.
The duo’s departure sucked the momentum further as Jason Behrendorff dismissed Rinku for the first time in this series and denied the batsman a well-deserved half-century. The parade continued with Chahar departing for a duck and Bishnoi falling short of his crease in the last ball of the innings.
Openers dominate PowerPlay
Yashasvi Jaiswal (37 off 28 balls) and Ruturaj (32 off 28 balls) packed a punch and provided a solid start with a 50-run stand in just 34 balls in the PowerPlay.
Yashasvi was the aggressor, as he took on the Australian attack and targeted Dwarshuis to kick off proceedings. It wasn’t a gung-ho approach, as the southpaw opened his account with a lovely drive through the cover-point region and then fetched three boundaries off Dwarshuis.
However, it was once again the case of getting a start and not being able to convert into a big one as Aaron Hardie, who started proceedings with a maiden, bowled a delivery into the surface that hurried the batsman, and Yashasvi failed to execute the pull shot as the ball went straight to McDermott at mid-on.
The fall of the opener saw Australia strike twice in quick succession as Tanveer Sangha removed Shreyas Iyer, and Dwarshuis, coming back into the attack, induced an outside edge to pack off Suryakumar.
ALSO READ | India breaks record for most wins in T20Is, goes past Pakistan
Australia’s first innings comeback
Rinku joined Ruturaj and got into business straight away with a switch hit over backward point for a maximum off Matthew Short and then skipped down the track to launch Dwarshuis for a massive six over wide of long-on.
The southpaw played shots on either side of the wicket with fierce cuts and pulls in full exhibition, but the most productive shots were the flicks where the batsman brought his wrists into play.
Just when India gained momentum with both batsmen looking to break free, Sangha broke partnership by removing Ruturaj, who departed while trying to play an inside-out shot but hit straight to the fielder at short third man.
Jitesh then took the mantle of taking India forward along with Rinku as the men in blue were poised to cross the 180-run mark. But Australia brilliantly pulled things in dramatic fashion. However, they faltered in the chase, with the Indian bowlers delivering the goods when it mattered the most.