India beat Australia by 11 runs in first of three T20I at Canberra on Friday

Debutant T Natarajan and concussion substitute Yuzvendra Chahal helped India successfully defend 161 runs after a half-century from KL Rahul and a Ravindra Jadeja cameo with the bat.
Ravindra Jadeja in action against Australia
Ravindra Jadeja in action against Australia Twitter

India beat Australia convincingly by 11 runs in the first T20I at Canberra on Friday. With this win, the Men in Blue took a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series.

Australia won the toss and elected to bowl first. Both teams made some big changes. D’Arcy Short, Mitchell Swepson and Matthew Wade returned to the Australian T20I squad. India also made some surprising changes. Shreyas Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah did not make it to the squad, with the latter getting some rest before the Test series begins. Manish Pandey, Deepak Chahar, Sanju Samson, Mohammed Shami and Washington Sundar walked into the squad. T Natarajan was given his T20I cap by Jasprit Bumrah before the toss.

KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan opened the proceedings for India. India lost their first wicket for just 11 runs when Dhawan was bowled by Mitchell Starc’s outswinger. The Indian skipper walked in but failed to make an impact despite showing positive intent from the first ball he faced. Virat Kohli was caught by leg spinner Mitchell Swepson of his own bowling. Samson came in and was hitting at a strike rate of above 140. He was looking set but was dismissed for 23 runs off 15 balls by Moises Henriques. Pandey joined Rahul in the middle but the former was dismissed for just 2 runs off 9 balls. Rahul, who scored a brilliant half-century despite wickets falling at the other end, was dismissed in the very next over. Once again, the onus was on Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja to rescue India. The duo could only put on 22 runs in the 3 overs before Pandya was dismissed by Henriques. It was then that Jadeja decided to let loose. He started smashing Josh Hazlewood and Starc in the last three overs and ended the innings with an unbeaten 44 runs of 23 balls. India finished with 161-7 in their 20 overs.

However, before the start of the chase, the Indian team notified Australia and the concerned officials that Jadeja had suffered a concussion while batting in the last over of the first innings. The concussion protocol is that a player can be brought in for the concussed player and India brought in Chahal as Jadeja’s replacement for the second innings. Australian coach Justin Langer was not happy with this change and was having a long conversation with the match referee in this regard.

Chahar opened the ball for India as Aaron Finch and Short opened with the bat for Australia. Finch, carrying on his good form, took on Chahar straightaway and Short joined him in the action. Chahar’s first over went for 16 runs. This start helped the openers score 56 runs in 7.3 overs before Chahal dismissed Finch. Chahal came back in his very next over and removed Steve Smith who was looking to switch gears.

Natarajan, who was bowling his second over, got his maiden wicket when he got in-form Glenn Maxwell LBW. Henriques and Short tried to revive the Australian innings but the latter was soon dismissed by Natarajan. Chahal returned and took his third wicket giving away just 25 runs in 4 overs. Chahar dismissed Henriques and thus ending Australia’s hopes. Natarajan got the wicket of Starc and finished with figures of 4 overs, 30 runs and 3 wickets on debut. Shami was expensive with 4 over for 46 runs and no wickets but Sundar was the most economical, giving away just 16 runs in 4 overs. Interestingly, Chahal, who was not a part of Kohli’s plans for this match, ended being adjudged the Man of the Match.

The last two T20I matches will be played in Sydney and Australia will look to beat India. It is worth noting that Australia has never beaten India in a bilateral T20I series before.

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