A well compiled half century from KL Rahul and a late onslaught from Ravindra Jadeja helped India post a 162-run target for Australia in the first T20I of the three-match series at the Manuka Oval on Friday.
Put into bat, India didn’t have a great start as they lost a wicket early in the innings. Shikhar Dhawan was undone by a brilliant outswinger in the third over bowled by Mitchell Starc and went back to the pavilion after scoring just one.
Skipper Virat Kohli, who came into bat next, then stitched a nice, little partnership with Rahul and took the Indian score to 48. Just when the scoring rate seemed to be going up, Mitchell Swepson got the priced scalp of Kohli who was caught & bowled by the leg-spinner at his individual score of 9.
However, Rahul continued his good run and kept scoring boundaries whenever the Australian bowlers erred and alongwith Sanju Samson, took forward the Indian innings. Samson, during his stay at the wicket, played some beautiful shots and made 23 off 15 before he was caught at covers, while trying to hit a boundary against Moises Henriques.
Next batsman Manish Pandey (2 off 8) didn’t have a long stay at the crease and was sent back to the dressing room by Adam Zampa.
Rahul, who was till then holding one end, soon became the second scalp of Henriques who had the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman caught at long-on by Sean Abbott. Rahul smashed five fours and a six during his 40-ball inning.
Star all-rounder Hardik Pandya couldn’t cast his magic this time around like he did in the ODIs as he scored 16 off 15 before getting caught at long-off by Steve Smith while trying to go for a maximum against Henriques.
However, Jadeja who has been amongst the runs in recent times, provided India the much-needed impetus and scored 44 off just 23 balls, with the help of five fours and a six to help the team end their innings at 161/7.
Henriques was the pick of the Australian bowlers as he returned with figures of 3/22. Starc made two scalps while Zampa and Swepson picked one wicket apiece.
Brief scores: India 161/7 (KL Rahul 51, Ravindra Jadeja 44*; Moises Henriques 3/22)