India finally tasted its first victory on this tour after beating Australia comprehensively by 8 wickets in the Second and Final T20I at Melbourne. This was after a superb fielding performance backed up by the bowlers that saw Australia getting bowled out for a modest 131 in 19.4 overs after winning the toss and batting first.
Highlights of Australia Innings : India got off to a wonderful start with the ball as Praveen Kumar delivered two early blows in the 3rd over to have the hosts at 20 for 2. First he got the important wicket of David Warner who tried to pull Praveen’s short pitch delivery over squareleg for a six but couldn’t middle it and was caught by Gambhir at the boundary. Shaun Marsh (0 from 2 balls) bagged yet another failure against India, this time poking at a late away swinger from Praveen Kumar to edge it to Sehwag at slip who juggled the ball but luckily the rebound fell into Dhoni’s gloves.
India got their next wicket in the 7th over when Ravindra Jadeja at backward point ran out opener Aaron Finch (36 from 23 balls with 6 fours) with Australia at 49 for 3. Jadeja came up with another run out, this time with a diving stop and then a throw to the bowler to get rid of the Australian Skipper George Bailey who was backing up at his end. Australia slipped to 54 for 4 with absolutely no momentum in their innings.
In the 14th over, David Hussey who scratched his way to a 29-ball 24 got caught and bowled by Jadeja off a leading edge when he was trying to flick against the turn. Tall leggie Rahul Sharma joined the party and with MS Dhoni’s quick reflex stumping removed Mitchell Marsh after going past the bat with a turning leg break. Australia could add only 15 more runs in the last 15 balls of their innings with five wickets going down. After Marsh, Wicket Keeper Matthew Wade, who scored 32 from 29 balls, got run out by a direct throw from Rohit Sharma from extra covers after trying to take a non-existent single. In the very next ball, Vinay Kumar got one to hit the seam and move away to have Clint McKay caught behind for a first ball duck.
In the final over, Australia lost two wickets as well with Rahul Sharma getting the left-handed Brad Hogg lbw on the backfoot with a skidding delivery; and then Suresh Raina running out Xavier Doherty at the batting end in an attempted second run from mid wicket. There were as many as four run outs from the Indian fielders!
Highlights of India Innings : For once India got off to a solid start from its trusted pair of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. The openers added 43 in 6.3 overs before Virender Sehwag (23 from 16 balls with 2 fours and a six) drove a full toss from Brad Hogg straight into the hands of short extra covers. Sehwag had hit the same bowler for a massive six over long on which went a mile in the air!
After Sehwag’s exit, India consolidated with Virat Kohli putting up a 54-run partnership with Gambhir for the second wicket to seal the game nearly. Virat Kohli after scoring 31 from 24 balls with 3 fours got caught by the diving Wicket Keeper - Matthew Wade in the 14th over when he was trying to steer Clint McKay to thirdman. Skipper MS Dhoni, coming in at no.4 finished off the game with Gautam Gambhir in the final over. Gautam Gambhir registered his 7th T20I fifty and remained unbeaten on 56 from 60 balls with 4 fours while MS Dhoni collected 21* from 18 balls with 2 fours.
The Man of the Match award went to Ravindra Jadeja for affecting two runs outs and for his bowling figures of 3-0-16-1.
Toss and Teams : Australia led by George Bailey have won the toss and elected to bat first in the Second and final T20I at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Its a must-win game for MS Dhoni’s Team India if they have to avoid another series whitewash on this tour. Surprisingly, India stuck with the same side that had lost the 1st T20I at Sydney by 31 runs which means that there will no Irfan Pathan in the team.
The hosts have made three changes to their line-up to give the rest of the players opportunity to play as well. Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh and Clint McKay replace the trio of Travis Birt, Daniel Christian and James Faulkner.
Here are the two XIs of the Australia Vs India, 2nd KFC T20I at MCG :
Australia XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh, David Hussey, George Bailey (Captain), Matthew Wade (Wicket Keeper), Mitchell Marsh, Brett Lee, Brad Hogg,Clint McKay and Xavier Doherty
India XI: Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni (Captain and Wicket Keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Sharma, R Ashwin, R Vinay Kumar and Praveen Kumar