All-Round India Defeat Australia, Take Unbeatable 2-0 Lead in Series
India erased painful memories of their 1-4 ODI series loss by putting up a magnificent performance to beat Australia by 27 runs to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match Twenty20 series against Australia.
Australia once again won the toss and chose to field in the second Twenty20 in Melbourne. After a slow start, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma got going with some aggressive batting. (All pictures from AFP)
Dhawan played some enterprising strokes and registered his highest individual score in Twenty20s. Rohit and Dhawan notched up a 97-run opening stand, which was the highest partnership in Twenty20s at the MCG.
Rohit Sharma also continued his golden summer in Australia by notching up his eighth fifty in Twenty20 internationals as India continued the assault.
Glenn Maxwell broke the partnership when Dhawan reverse swept to backward point to depart for 42. However, Virat Kohli came in and the scoring rate increased.
Kohli shared a wonderful stand with Rohit and with MS Dhoni towards the end as India neared a big total.
Kohli notched up his 11th fifty and second against Australia. His magnificent form on this tour of Australia has led to former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar to remark that he is from a different planet.
Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch got off to a fast start as the pace bowlers struggled. They were not helped by some ordinary Indian fielding, which saw Finch getting dropped three times in the space of one over.
Finch brought up his sixth fifty and second against India as Australia kept pace with the run-rate. He was lucky to survive two dropped catches on 62 and 64.
However, Hardik Pandya changed the whole complexion of the match. He took a catch to dismiss Shaun Marsh for 23 as the 94-run stand was broken. With the ball, he took the wicket of Chris Lynn as Australia collapsed.
Led by Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh, Australia struggled to score and they managed only 31 runs in the next six overs for the loss of four wickets. All three bowlers chipped in.
Aaron Finch was dismissed for 74 as he struggled with his hamstring during the innings. Later, it was revealed that he would be missing the Sydney Twenty20 due to the injury.
For the 53000 fans, it was triple delight at the MCG. Earlier, the Indian Women had secured their first-ever series win over world champions Australia while Sania Mirza secured her third straight grand slam title with Martina Hingis. Now, it was the turn of the Indian Men to give more joy.
Jasprit Bumrah then took two wickets as India sealed a 27-run victory to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
With this win, India secured their first-ever Twenty20 series win in Australia. This win will also give them plenty of confidence heading into the ICC World Twenty20 which begins on March 8.