Mohammed Shami allayed worries about his fitness with a sensational 20th over as India clinched a six-round win over Australia in their first warm-up match of the T20 World Cup on Monday.
KL Rahul (57/33) and Suryakumar Yadav (50/33) batted an entertaining half-century to take India to 186 for seven after Australia opted to bowl in the Gabba. Australia needed 16 runs from the last 12 balls with six wickets in hand and were on their way to a comfortable win before Shami, Harshal Patel and outfield Virat Kohli plotted a turnaround for India.
Shami, who last played a competitive game in July and ended up here after suffering a long bout of COVID-19, showed up to throw the game’s final over and made a crucial impact on the game.
He landed yorker after yorker, finishing with three wickets in the over alongside a run out. Shami was drafted into the squad to replace the injured Jasprit Bumrah. In the penultimate over, Harshal delivered Patel under fire after being hammered early as he conceded just five runs in an over that also included a brilliant run-out after a direct Kohli hit.
The star India batter had also plucked a stunning one-handed catch from the border line out of nowhere to sack Pat Cummins.
However, concerns about India’s bowling remain ahead of the tournament opener against Pakistan on October 23.
“There is room for improvement but I want more consistency from the bowlers. You have to keep things simple and hit the deck hard. Overall a good game for us, they had a decent partnership and that put us under pressure,” said skipper Rohit Sharma. Commenting on Shami’s winning effort, he said: “He’s coming back after a long time so we wanted to give him an over. We wanted to challenge him and let him roll over the final and you saw what he did. Previously, the Indian batsmen enjoyed the pace and leap of the wicket, particularly Rahul, who scored the majority of runs on the power play and took his team to 69 without a loss.
Rohit (15 of 14) was just a spectator at the other end as Rahul smashed hit after hit.
During a 78-run stand between the openers, Rohit barely found a batting and wasn’t able to open his account until the fifth over.
Rahul, whose batting average has been questioned in the past, appeared to be back at his best after an injury layoff.
His innings consisted of delightful cover drivers from the pacemakers, while his standout shots were Cummins’ two sixes, one was a crisp pull while the other was a whiplash from a good length ball that sailed down the deep midwicket.
Apart from Hardik Pandya (2), who was outplayed by a slower ball from Kane Richardson, all of the Indian batsmen spent valuable time down the middle.
The bigger borders in Australia are already making themselves felt as Kohli (19 of 13), Dinesh Karthik (20 of 14), Rohit and Rahul are trapped in the deep.
Karthik went over the stumps to send Kane Richardson over the deep mid-wicket but was caught just inside the boundary ropes by Glenn Maxwell. It would have been a six on a floor in India.
Kohli was bounced out by Mitchell Starc to be caught in the fine leg while Rohit’s slog sweep landed in the safe hands of Maxwell.
After a quality knock, Rahul was unable to make a long jump from Maxwell for punishment and was caught at deep midwicket.
With the start India got they should have reached 200 but couldn’t.
There was also another fine strike from Suryakumar, who had also scored a fifty in Perth against Western Australia. He and Rahul also got a taste for the extra impact when they were both hit in the helmet.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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