1st T20I: Dazzling Surya, ‘finisher’ Rinku seal India’s highest successful chase

NEW DELHI: Skipper Suryakumar Yadav led a remarkable batting display from front as an inexperienced India pulled off a stunning two-wicket win over Australia in a high-scoring thriller in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.
Chasing a daunting 209, India crossed the finish line off the last ball to pull off their highest ever successful run-chase in the shortest format.
India did have a tense finish in the tall chase but emerging ‘finisher’ Rinku Singh showed now signs of nerves, helping India overhaul the target off the final ball.
Skipper Surya shone on his captaincy debut as he and Ishan Kishan (58) hit sparkling fifties and added a sensational 112-run stand for the third wicket to set the platform for the steep chase.
Shrugging off the disappointment of a World Cup final defeat, the skipper was in belligerent mood, firing 80 off just 42 balls but Rinku’s 22 not out off 14 balls saved India from the blushes.
As It Happened
India needed 14 off 12 balls after Surya departed but Axar Patel bungled big time and the likes of Ravi Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh also were run-out in a jiffy.
With a single needed off the final delivery, Sean Abbott was deposited into the stands by Rinku but to everyone’s delight, it turned out to be a big no-ball and hence the maximum wasn’t counted. India thus won with a ball to spare.
However, what stood out was Rinku’s fearlessness and the sense of occasion and execution under pressure.
Ishan also brushed aside initial rustiness to smack five sixes in his 39-ball-58 and was an ideal companion for his skipper in a run-chase which became easy due to a flat batting track, short boundaries and lot of dew during the second innings.
What the 112-run stand in 10 overs between Surya and Kishan did for India was keep them at par with Australia and in the hunt for a win.
Rinku, the ‘designated finisher’ of T20 team, showed little nerves while lending the finishing touches with some lusty blows after Axar Patel’s 2 off 6 balls seemed like increasing tension in the dug-out.
Kishan initially had only two runs off his first eight deliveries but once Surya played his customary pick-up short off Jason Behrendorff behind the keeper for a six, the keeper-batter seemed to gain some confidence as he lofted Sean Abbott over deep mid-wicket for a huge six.
Surya lofted Abbott for a maximum and both got going as Kishan found his match-up in leg-break bowler Tanveer Sangha, who was sent on a leather-hunt.
Sangha’s leg-breaks were literally long-hops coming into left-hander and three of Kishan’s five sixes were muscled in the same region but it was the hunger for a sixth six over extra cover that brought about his downfall.
His skipper, however, hit the best six of the match when he brought about his first half-century with a lofted on-drive off Abbott.
Earlier, India’s young bowling attack got a rude reality check as a dominant Josh Inglis smoked them to all parts of the ground with a cracking 110 off 50 balls, taking Australia to a healthy 208 for three.
Surya’s decision to bowl first on a batting featherbed turned out to be a nightmare for the inexperienced Indian attack. They were taken to the cleaners by Inglis (110 off 50 balls), who hit as many as eight sixes, half a dozen of them off googly bowler Ravi Bishnoi.
The century, his first across international formats, came off 47 balls and there were 11 boundaries as well, including an audacious reverse sweep off pacer Arshdeep Singh (0/41 in 4 overs) and an arrogant slash over point off the same bowler.
Only pacer Mukesh Kumar (0/29 in 4 overs) held his own amid the onslaught from both ends.
The stockily built keeper-batter, brimming with confidence of an altogether different level, took a special liking for Bishnoi (1/54 in 4 overs), who for the first time looked exposed due to his one-dimensional skill-set of consistently bowling fast googlies, with an occasional straighter one slipped in between.
Inglis had the seasoned Steve Smith (52 off 41 balls) for company as the former skipper kept nudging and pushing apart from his eight boundaries in a stand of 130, dominated by the junior partner.
Prasidh Krishna (1/50 in 4 overs), who travelled around with the World Cup squad for a month, clearly didn’t find any rhythm as it was Smith, who first creamed him for successive boundaries and then when his end was changed by Suryakumar, the fate didn’t change as he was hit for three fours and a six by Inglis, who went on a rampage.
In fact, it was Bishnoi who drew the first blood getting Matthew Short cleaned up with a straighter one but then Inglis devised a plan that worked wonderfully well for him.
Knowing that Bishnoi primarily bowls fast googlies or just pushes one with the angle, he just moved away from stumps, hitting him over extra cover, leave aside pulling those half-trackers into the mid-wicket stands.
There were slog sweeps to fuller deliveries and Bishnoi looked out of sorts on a day when Yuzvendra Chahal, smarting after an unceremonious omission from T20I squad, took six wickets for Haryana in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the national one-day championship.
Having been used to a stellar bowling show through the better part of the World Cup, the pasting that this second string attack received from Australia must have shaken the likes of Bishnoi and Krishna, both of whom had ‘half-centuries’ to their names, albeit of a different kind.
(With inputs from PTI)

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