However, Ashton Turner’s blitzkrieg knock of 84* off just 43 balls completely took the game away from the hosts, who remained favourites to emerge victorious in the middle of the second innings despite Peter Handscomb scoring his maiden ODI ton.
Turner smashed 5 fours and 6 sixes at a strike rate of 195.35 and although he rode his luck a little bit – he was dropped twice and could have been stumped had Rishabh Pant been more alert behind the wickets – he was able to finish the run-chase with consummate ease.
The role of a finisher is something that isn’t new to Turner; it’s a role he has played with some aplomb for Big Bash League (BBL) side Perth Scorchers.
So good was his form for the Scorchers this season that despite their overall poor showing in this season’s tournament, he was selected in Australia’s T20I side for the series against Sri Lanka
The fact that he was handed a national call-up despite his form fading towards the later parts of the competition shows just how much of an impact he made in the finisher role.
His BBL 2018-19 numbers are decent for a lower-order batsman: he scored 378 runs at an average of 31.50 and a strike-rate of 132.63, getting 3 half-centuries in the process.
Turner was also involved in an amusing situation in the beginning of the BBL season against the Melbourne Renegades when he smashed a ball from Dan Christian so high that it hit the roof and was duly awarded six runs by the umpire, much to the confusion of players and commentators alike.
Nevertheless, it is his exploits at Mohali that have shown the larger cricketing world exactly what he is capable of, with Indian skipper Virat Kohli pointing out after the match that his knock was the difference between the two sides.
For his part, Turner revealed after the match that while he was confident at doing well if given a chance, he was mentally prepared to carry around the drinks instead of playing a crucial knock in a record run chase.
"I turned up to the ground today and Marcus Stoinis was doing a fitness test, he's got a broken thumb. He's a pretty tough bloke so I thought he'd get up and play and I'd be running drinks again.
"It was a last-minute (change) to transition my mind from not playing to playing.
"I feel like I've had a great opportunity to hit lots of balls in the nets and get used to these conditions behind the scenes. I had a lot of confidence I was ready to go if I was given the chance.
"It's not every day that we get to play this well as a team in foreign conditions and I thought India played really well as well and it was a great game of cricket."
Turner also thanked former Australian opener Matthew Hayden for helping him during practice sessions, especially on how to tackle spinners on these conditions.
"'Haydos' has been great to me. I was really privileged to get my cap presented by Haydos in Hyderabad," said Turner.
"I'm still nervous standing around and talking with him.
"He's spent a lot of time with me in the nets, was a brilliant player of spin bowling, especially over here in India. It's great to just sit down and talk batting with him, he's a legend and someone I always looked up to."
Australia skipper Aaron Finch was effusive in his praise for Turner. "We have seen him do that a lot in Big Bash. It was a world-class knock and to take on two of the best death bowlers in the world was outstanding."
Turner will have more chances to showcase his hard-hitting skills in the shortest format of the game later this month when he turns out for the Rajasthan Royals in the 2019 Indian Premier League, having been bought by the franchise in the 2018 auction.
But there is no doubt his form currently bodes well for Australia, who will hope he can show similar striking ability in the final ODI of the series in New Delhi on March 13 (Wednesday).
First Published: March 10, 2019, 10:34 PM IST