Rahul and Suryakumar fifties lead India to a six-run victory over Australia in the opening warm-up match

In their opening exhibition game for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup on Monday at The Gabba, India defeated reigning champions Australia by six runs thanks to a surprise appearance from Mohammed Shami, who also claimed three wickets in the final over. 50s after leaving KL As fast bowler Kane Richardson picked up 4/30, Rahul (57) and Suryakumar Yadav (50) assisted India in posting a daunting 186/7 in their 20 overs. Australia needed 16 runs off the final two overs to successfully chase down the target.

Although Tim David was brilliantly run out by Virat Kohli’s direct smash, Harshal Patel only allowed five runs in a fantastic 19th over and took the wicket of skipper Aaron Finch, who top-scored with a 54-ball 76. After not bowling in the entire game, Shami was unexpectedly chosen to deliver the final over. He made an impact by catching Pat Cummins at long-on with the help of an incredible one-handed catch by Kohli.

In a last over that saw four wickets fall, including Ashton Agar’s, Shami then hit his final two yorkers perfectly and dismissed Josh Inglis and Kane Richardson to give India a slim victory. Mitchell Marsh got some batting practise with an 18-ball 35 before falling in the final over of the power play, and Aaron Finch also got going from the other end as Australia’s pursuit of 187 got off to a good start. India had five bowlers in their first five overs, but Marsh and Finch pounded them for runs.

Steve Smith was the next to fall and was recovered by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal after Marsh was eliminated by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Glenn Maxwell hit four fours off Chahal in his 16-ball 23, but he was caught behind off Bhuvneshwar just as it appeared he would stay long at the wicket. Finch and David kept Australia in the game despite Marcus Stoinis’ cheap dismissal to Arshdeep Singh. Australia lost their final six wickets for nine runs in the final two overs, which will give India more confidence in their death over bowling going into the main competition.

Earlier, after being forced to bat first, Rahul was aggressive right away, hitting a pair of fours in the first two overs of Richardson and Mitchell Starc. The rest of his time at the crease, he pulled, flicked, and swivelled with ease. After hitting Cummins for a six and a four in the first three balls of his first over, he proceeded to collect three fours and a six off Stoinis, who had already given up 20 runs in the day’s opening over. In the penultimate over of the power play, Rahul scored his fifty with a flick off Maxwell that went over the midwicket boundary.

Maxwell also gave Rohit Sharma a four and a six, but Australia rallied as the Indian captain and Rahul holed out in consecutive overs to deep mid-wicket. Before top-edging Starc’s pluck to fine leg in his 13-ball 19, Kohli played a beautiful 13 balls. Hardik Pandya was only able to direct a slower bouncer from Richardson to the short third man. As soon as he started, Suryakumar launched his signature inside-out loft over long-off and slashed past the backward point, earning fours from Agar. He kept acting naturally, planning a sweep and plucking anything that was short or fast picking anything that was in his slot.

Suryakumar lobbed the ball right back to Richardson after lofting the ball over extra cover to achieve his fifty. While Ravichandran Ashwin got things going with a massive six before falling on the last ball of the innings, Dinesh Karthik helped him out brilliantly with a cameo of 20 off 14 balls. Brief results: India defeated Australia 180 all out in 20 overs (Aaron Finch 76, Mitchell Marsh 35; Mohammed Shami 3/4, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/20) by six runs with a total of 186/7 (KL Rahul 57, Suryakumar Yadav 50; Kane Richardson 4/30).

(source : IANS)

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