Rajkot: Yuvraj Singh made a fantastic comeback to the national side as he blasted his way to a 35-ball 77 to power India to a comfortable six-wicket win over Australia in the high-scoring one-off Twenty20 international, in Rajkot on Thursday. (Match Scorecard | Match highlights)
Yuvraj forged an unbeaten 102-run stand with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who played a second-fiddle, as India chased down a huge 202-run target with two balls to spare. (Read: India A games prepared me well, says Yuvraj Singh)
Yuvraj carried his sublime form, with which he forced his way into the team, into the game as he plundered eight fours and five sixes in his 35-ball knock. (Read: India vs Australia T20I stats - Yuvraj first Indian to have career strike rate of 150 or more)
The left-hander hammered the bowlers all around the park as his trademark powerful flicks, ferocious cuts and elegantly lofted drives enthralled the packed house even as the Australians watched helplessly. (See: match pics)
Batting like a man-possessed, Yuvraj reached his 50 with a straight six off paceman James Faulkner while Dhoni (24 off 21) finished the match with a four and couple of runs off Shane Watson.
Aaron Finch had powered Australia to a challenging 201 for seven with his blistering 89-run knock off 52-ball as visiting batsmen made merry on a flat wicket after being invited to bat at SCA stadium.
Finch plundered 15 boundaries, including a six, as he anchored the Australian innings while debutant Nic Maddinson (34) and Glenn Maxwell (27) also played more than handful knocks for their side.
Had it not been for some exceptional bowling by pace duo of R Vinay Kumar (3/26) and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (3/25), who shared six wickets between them, India would have been in more deep trouble.
An off-colour R Ashwin and Ishant Sharma bled 93 runs in six wicket-less overs between them and that cost India dearly. However, the wicket had nothing for the bowlers even as they bowled poorly.
However, India batsmen made up for the poor first half with some excellent batting even though the start was not that good as Rohit Sharma (8) exited early and Suresh Raina (19) could not build on to a good start.
Since Shikhar Dhawan (32) and Virat Kohli (29) were striking the ball cleanly, India maintained a healthy run-rate but not keeping wickets did cause some anxiety.
Dhawan was stumped off Xaviwer Doherty while Kohli was caught off Clint McKay even as India reached 100 in 11 overs.
Dhoni and Yuvraj then turned it on with their scintillating batting.
Yuvraj hit two sixes and a four in three balls off McKay to plunder 18 runs in the 14th over. India needed 69 runs from the last six overs but with Yuvraj in scintillating form, the hosts recorded a comfortable win.
Earlier, Finch provided a blazing start to his side with debutant Nic Maddinson as Australia raced to 50 in just 4.1 overs. Maddinson showed no signs of nerves as he punished the bowlers to make a 16-ball 34.
The 21-year old left-hander forged a 56-run opening stand with Finch before being castled by seamer Bhuvneshwar.
Vinay Kumar picked up two crucial wickets of all-rounder Shane Watson (6) and Aussie skipper George Bailey (0) to bring some relief for the hosts.
The visitors came back strongly as Glenn Maxwell blazed through the opposition attack and made 27 off just 13 balls.
The 24-year old played a blinder as he struck four sixes in his fluent knock, including three in the same over against Ravichandran Ashwin.
Finch was dismissed in the 17th over when Vinay held on to a powerful strike in his follow through. James Faulkner struck a last-ball six to guide his team to a go past the 200-run mark figure.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, playing his first T20 at home, played a crucial part in the hosts' recovery as he gave away just 23 runs in his four overs and also got a wicket.