India registered their fourth consecutive win in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 with a 73-run victory over Australia. The Indian bowlers skittled the opposition out for 86 after Yuvraj Singh’s 60 off 43 balls helped them to a challenging total. Chasing 160, the Australians perished miscuing shots while taking the aerial route. Indian spinners fashioned Australia’s collapse. Ravichandran Ashwin starred with a four-wicket haul as India coasted to a win in their last league game.
Earlier, opting to field first, George Bailey opened the bowling with spin from both ends. Rohit Sharma, who took first strike, began the proceedings with a boundary to deep square-leg off Brad Hodge. But two balls later, he was back to the dugout after handing a catch to point.
Virat Kohli then joined Ajinkya Rahane in the middle. Rahane had replaced Shikhar Dhawan in the team, while Mohit Sharma got his T20I debut.
Kohli took off from where he had left in the previous game. His six over mid-wicket indicated that he was set for another blistering knock. But after a run-a-ball 23, Kohli’s attempt to clear the ropes was caught by Cameron White. He had kept the scorecard moving during the 40-run stand with Rahane.
However, Rahane followed him back to the hut. Gently nudging Doug Bollinger to the wicketkeeper, he departed for 19. India’s innings looked shaky as Suresh Raina, who had then joined Yuvraj Singh in the middle, got a life as Glenn Maxwell couldn’t hold on to a return catch. However, dropped on five, Raina had added just one run before offering a simple catch to Aaron Finch in Maxwell’s next over.
Yuvraj, who had played himself in, then took on the Australian bowlers. With the captain at the other end, the left-hand batsman launched Muirhead over deep midwicket and over long-on for back-to-back sixes. And with singles and twos, they garnered 17 runs off the over to change the tempo of the game. From there on, the pair gleaned runs off the bowlers. They attacked the opposition with gusto. 10 runs were claimed from Bollinger, while Mitchell Starc was hit for a six each by both batsmen to claim 19 from him. Shane Watson wasn’t spared either as Yuvraj struck him for two boundaries and a six on the leg side to take 16 runs. The pair had collected 84 runs at 12 runs per over to seize the advantage for India.
With nine balls left, Starc knocked back Dhoni’s stumps to remove him for 24, triggering another string of wickets to fall. Then, on the first ball of the last over, Yuvraj holed out to long-off, while Ravindra Jadeja responding to Ravichandran Ashwin was run out off the last ball. With 82 runs scored off the last seven overs, India set Australia a competitive target.
The Indian pacers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit – conceded six runs each, but Ashwin gave India their first breakthrough in the third. Finch, looking to slog the spinner, only managed to get a top-edge and Kohli running in to mid-on took a comfortable catch. In the next over, White’s mistimed shot off Bhuvneshwar was taken by Jadeja. And with Mohit dislodging Watson’s bails in the next over, Australia were reduced to 21 for three.
Maxwell hit Raina over deep midwicket and over fine-leg after joining Warner in the middle. But Warner, who had made his way to 19, perished soon. A superb catch by Rohit running to deep midwicket sent back the opener. Maxwell looked positive as he struck Jadeja over the fence, but he too departed an over later. Going for an unorthodox shot, the batsman lost his stumps to Ashwin. Bailey came, hit Jadeja for six over long-off, but was caught by Kohli’s safe hands off the next ball in the deep.
With Australia on 63 for six with half the innings over, the Brads – Haddin and Hodge – faced an uphill task. Like the batsmen preceding him, Haddin perished taking the aerial route. He swept Mishra and Rahane received the offering at deep square-leg. With the match already out of their hands, Starc was run out, while Hodge too was out to a slog. Ashwin then sealed the game by claiming Muirhead.
Man of the Match: Ravichandran Ashwin for his four-wicket haul.