Put in to bat, India made a competitive 190 for 4 with Virat Kohli scoring 72* off 38. Australia chased it down with two balls to spare, Maxwell remaining unbeaten to guide his side home.
Australia lost Marcus Stoinis early in the chase to the bowling of Siddarth Kaul, bowled for 7 runs to leave the visitors at 17/1 by the end of the third over.
In the very next over, Vijay Shankar got the better of Aaron Finch as he was dismissed for 8 runs putting Australia in all sorts of trouble at 22/2.
But much like the Indian innings earlier, it was one partnership that did the bulk of the damage. Glenn Maxwell and D’arcy Short took it into their own hands to push the Australian cause forward. Maxwell in particular was fantastic, in conditions that he knew well having been a veteran of the Indian Premier League.
But he lost his partner in the 12th over off the bowling of Vijay for forty, marking an important breakthrough for India. By the end of the over, Australia needed 83 runs to win in eight overs, with seven wickets in hand.
Krunal Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal would proceed to bowl the next three overs between them, but Maxwell was seeing the ball like a football and sent it over the fence with regularity. He brought up his 50 in just 32 balls, and his next fifty would be even quicker – he took just 18 more balls to reach a century at the beginning of the 19th over, marking a great T20 innings.
Siddarth Kaul did not help matters for India, Maxwell hitting him for a six off a no-ball in the same over, skewing the equation heavily in Australia’s favour.
Fourteen runs were needed off the last two overs, and by the time Bumrah was done bowling the penultimate over, Australia needed 9 runs to win off the last over. Kaul was given the responsibility of bowling the last over, but Australia continued their momentum and finished the job within four balls. Maxwell hit a six and a four off the last two balls to finish in style.
With the ball, Australia got off to the kind of start they would have hoped for. While no wickets fell during the first two overs bowled by Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson, India scored only four runs.
That changed in the third over as KL Rahul, in front of his home crowd, began what would turn out to be an impressive knock with a boundary off the bowling of Behrendorff. From that point on, Rahul would be the more aggressive of the two batsmen at the crease, as Dhawan struggled to get going.
India quickly raced to 39 by the end of the fifth over after the initial two fallow overs, the highlight being Rahul’s consecutive sixes off Richardson’s bowling.
He followed it up by giving Pat Cummins exactly the same treatment in the next over, as he looked set for a big knock, picking the ball early and timing it to near perfection.
However, he was dismissed in the eighth over after trying to steer a slower delivery over the head of third man, only to be caught by Richardson off the bowling of Coulter-Nile for a well-made 47 off 26 balls. In walked in Kohli with the scored reading 65/1.
Dhawan didn’t last long at the crease either, caught by Marcus Stoinis at sweeper cover for a laboured 14 off 24 balls. The third umpire deemed the catch clean after it was referred to him, and the on-field umpire’s soft signal stood.
Captain Kohli then found himself at the crease with Rishabh Pant, but the latter was soon dismissed as well courtesy a brilliant catch by Jhye Richardson in the deep off the bowling off D’arcy Short, and India found themselves in a spot of bother at 74/3.
But from that point on, it was the Dhoni and Kohli show. The former and current Indian captains would go on to stitch together a stand that would take India to a total that was befitting of the pitch they were playing on, favouring free-flowing shots.
And that was exactly what they demonstrated, unleashing a flurry of boundaries and sixes to send the Australian fielders on a leather hunt.
Kohli went one better than Rahul, hitting Nathan Coulter-Nile for three sixes in the 16th over to take India to 135/3 by the end of it.
It was only in the 19th over that Dhoni was dismissed by Aaron Finch for 40 off 23 balls, but the damage had been done. Kohli finished the innings with a six and India ended on 190/4 after 20 overs.
Aaron FinchaustraliaGlenn MaxwellIndia vs Australia 2019Jhye Richardsonkl rahulMS Dhonipeter handscombRishabh Pantshikhar dhawanVijay Shankarvirat kohli
First Published: February 27, 2019, 10:56 PM IST