India were well-prepared for their T20 World Cup with a nine-wicket win over Australia at the ICC Cricket Academy Stadium on Wednesday, but the sixth bowler’s slot was a concern, even as Virat Kohli turned his hand to make the tournament right.
Kohli led the team to the field to bowl, Rohit Sharma (retired0 off off) with opening partner KL Rahul (off1) showed tremendous touches, India chased down 152 for five in 17.5 overs.
Suryakumar Yadav (unbeaten on 2 off) came in at number three in Kohli’s absence and got valuable time in the middle which should take his confidence further.
Hardik Pandya (unbeaten 1 off off) came in at four to finish the game and he did it with a clear hit on the bowler’s head.
Another advantage for India is that experienced pacer Bhubaneswar Kumar finds rhythm after a poor game against England. India also lost to England in their previous practice match.
The batting department looks more or less stable and also inspires the confidence of five expert bowlers but the same cannot be said of the extra bowling option as Hardik is not bringing his all-round skills to the table at the moment.
Rohit said, “Hardik is coming quite well, but shortly after he started bowling. He didn’t start bowling, but he has to be ready at the start of the tournament.” -Match against Australia.
The team management hopes that he will be ready to bowl during India’s World Cup campaign which will start with a marquee clash against Pakistan on Sunday.
Captain Kohli kept things tight with two overs at medium speed but expecting him to do the job in a high pressure situation would be too much to expect from him.
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India conceded 58 runs in the last five overs and that is something they want to improve.
After losing the toss, India made a good bowling effort.
Rohit mentioned in the toss that Kohli, Jaspreet Bumrah and Mohammad Shami were rested from the game but the captain took to the field to bowl a few overs, where he gave up 12 runs.
Australia were on 11 for three after Aaron Finch decided to bat first. David Warner’s barren run continued after a failed reverse sweep attempt in front of Ravichandran Ashwin.
With his next ball, Ashwin escaped from his birthday son Mitchell Marsh, who played for the turn, which was not only near the first slip.
With Rabindra Jadeja trapping LBW with his first ball slider, Australia had a lot of work to do.
Steve Smith (57 off off) and Glenn Maxwell (37 off 2 off) tried to break the shackles with a 611-run partnership.
While Maxwell made good use of his reverse sweep, Smith kept himself busy by turning the strike.
After Maxwell read in a conventional sweep, Smith and Marcus Stoinis (411 not out off 25 balls) came together and provided a much needed final improvement for the innings.
Smith hit Shardul Tagore three fours in a row in the 17th over, Steinis hit a straight six and mystery spinner Varun Chakraborty hit a boundary, which gave him 23 runs in his two overs.
After a bad day in office against England, Bhubaneswar found its rhythm and was effective both in the beginning and in death.