CricketNext takes a look back at some of the outstanding performances by players from both sides in these contests.
Jason Behrendorff 4/21, Guwahati (2017)
The world did not see much of Jason Behrendorff on his international debut but by the end of the second T20I against India in Guwahati, similarities with WWE superstar John Cena was not the only point of discussion.
In what were conducive conditions for bowlers, the left-arm pacer stunned the home crowd by trapping Rohit Sharma lbw before having Virat Kohli caught-and-bowled in the very first over. Manish Pandey was caught behind an over later while Shikhar Dhawan became his fourth victim in his penultimate over, to leave India reeling at 27 for four.
The hosts never recovered from their top-order collapse and ended up getting bowled out for just 118 at the close of 20 overs. Moises Henriques’ (62*) half-century led the visitors to victory with eight wickets to spare, but it was the 26-year-old’s effort that earned him the player of the match award.
Virat Kohli 82, Mohali (2016)
It is not without reason that Virat Kohli is considered to be one of the best chasers in cricket. Every time India has found themselves in a situation of bother during a chase, the skipper has stepped up to the plate.
The 2016 T20 World Cup quarter-final was no different. Having made it through to the knockouts by the skin of their teeth, India had to get past Australia at Mohali. Thankfully for the hosts, Kohli was at his invincible best on the night.
After seeing both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan depart early, India’s No. 3 played the anchor, and then transformed into the aggressor during the chase. His half-century came in 39 balls, and the next 32 runs off just 12 balls – comprising six fours and a maximum in that period.
As Dhoni hit the winning runs with a boundary in the final over, Kohli went down on his knees and let out a sigh of relief. During the post-match press conference, he regarded it as the best knock he has played in the T20 format.
Aaron Finch 89 & Yuvraj Singh 77*, Rajkot (2013)
For the high-scoring ODI series that followed, the lone T20I proved to be the perfect curtain raiser for the limited overs series in 2013. There was an added sub-plot to the contest – Yuvraj Singh was making a comeback into the Indian side after nine months away from action.
However, it was Aaron Finch who grabbed the limelight initially. Along with debutant Nic Maddinson, Australia’s innings began with a 56-run partnership inside five overs. While Vinay Kumar did considerable damage at the other end, Finch continued to find the gaps consistently and with power.
The opener’s innings though came to a tame end in the 17th over when he gifted his wicket to Vinay Kumar, Finch finished with 14 fours and one six in his knock.
India managed to put the brakes on the Australians after that to restrict them to 201 for seven.
Shikhar Dhawan (32), Suresh Raina (19) and Virat Kohli (29) got starts but fell in crucial stages, leaving India with 102 to get in under nine overs.
The hosts completed the run-chase with two balls to spare. MS Dhoni scored 24 off 21 balls, as he stood at the other end and watched a leaner, fitter Yuvraj unleash his repertoire of lofted drives and trademark pick-ups. The southpaw smoked eight fours and five sixes on his way to an unbeaten 35-ball 77.
On a day when Sachin Tendulkar announced the date of his last international game, Yuvraj Singh stepped up and lifted the spirits of Indian fans around the world by showing just what he was capable of.
Gautam Gambhir 63, Mumbai (2007)
After a disappointing ODI series, India lived up to the tag of being T20 World champions in their first ever encounter after the historic final when they beat Australia by seven wickets at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
The victory was largely possible due to the massive hand by Gautam Gambhir in the run-chase.
On the back of Ricky Ponting’s half-century (76), Australia were well on their way to a 180-plus score but tidy overs from the spin-duo of Murali Karthik and Harbhajan Singh kept the final score down to 166 for five.
India lost Virender Sehwag (5) early, but Gambhir partnered with Robin Uthappa (35) and Yuvraj Singh (31) in two crucial stands to steady the ship. The southpaw’s fourth T20I half-century ensured that the visitors would not be able to make a comeback.
His innings came to an end on 63 when mistimed a pull shot off Ben Hilfenhaus which went into the hands of Ponting at mid-on.
Yuvraj and MS Dhoni ensured that there would be no hiccups from then on in and scored the remaining 24 runs to hand India a win in the lone T20I.
First Published: February 24, 2019, 7:28 AM IST