Match report: Aus v Ind – Match 16, WT20
Colombo, Sep 28: Shane Watson came up with yet another all-round performance as Australia thrashed India by nine wickets to register their first win of the Super Eights stage of the 2012 ICC World T20. After Watson’s incisive figures of three for 34 helped Australia restrict India to 140, the all-rounder produced a scintillating innings of 72 off just 42 deliveries to set up a comprehensive win for his side.
The match itself started with the anticipation over the Indian playing eleven finally being put to rest. By picking all three spinners, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla, the Indians opted to go for five specialist bowlers, which included Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan, as Virender Sehwag was left out of the side.
After MS Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat first, Gautam Gambhir got India off to a good start. The opener hit a couple of beautiful drives, through covers and past point, in the first couple of overs to set the tone for India. Gambhir’s innings, nevertheless, came to an abrupt end when Pat Cummins ran him out with some smart footwork that found the Indian opener short of his crease, after he responded to Irfan Pathan’s call for a single.
Pathan, meanwhile, lofted Shane Watson for a huge six straight down the ground and even survived a couple of close shouts for lbw off Brad Hogg’s bowling as India reached 56 for one at the end of seven overs. It was from here that Australia took control of the match as India lost Virat Kohli (15), Yuvraj Singh (8), Irfan Pathan (31) and Rohit Sharma (1) to slide to 74 for five in 11.1 overs. Suresh Raina’s 19-ball 26 and R Ashwin 12-ball 16*, which included a big six off Mitchell Starc over midwicket, then helped India to a modest score of 140. For Australia, Watson continued his good show, picking up three wickets for 34 runs, while Pat Cummins impressed with figures of 4-0-16-2.
Defending 140, the Indians struggled to get the better of their opponents. The Australian openers, Shane Watson and David Warner, simply pummeled the Indian bowlers to all corners of the Premadasa to emerge victorious. Apart from Zaheer Khan, who went for 18 runs from his three overs, Watson and Warner repeatedly lofted R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla and Irfan Pathan into the stands to stitch together an opening stand of 133. Watson (72) was eventually dismissed with Australia eight runs shy of the victory target. But with David Warner remaining unbeaten on 63*, the Australians cruised to a nine-wicket win with 31 deliveries left to be bowled in the game.
India now play their next Super Eights game on September 30 against arch rivals Pakistan.
Brief scores: Australia 141/1 in 14.5 overs (Shane Watson 72, David Warner 63*, Yuvraj Singh 1/16) beat India 140/7 in 20.0 overs (Irfan Pathan 31, Shane Watson 3/34, Pat Cummins 2/16) by nine wickets
Man-of-the-match: Shane Watson for yet another all-round performance that saw him clock bowling figures of 4-0-34-3 and score a 42-ball 72 (2x4, 7x6)