India Comprehensively Win – Jadeja and Chahal Star

Jadeja and Chahal Star

In what started as Australia as favorites in the first T20I, Jadeja and Chahal Star as India stunned the hosts with what was a modest total of 161. Thanks to the heroics of Ravindra Jadeja in the last three overs. India put up a decent total, which looked far off when India had lost half their side for just 100. 

India lost an early wicket with Dhawan for just one, bowled off a beautiful yorker by Mitchell Starc, who was quite off in the ODI series. Kohli departs early too for just 9, exposing his struggles against leg-spin lately. KL Rahul, on the other end, was striking the ball clean and had to consolidate with wickets falling around him. IPL sensation, Sanju Samson, replacing Shreyas Iyer (which raised quite a few eyebrows), started well with pulling the leg spinner for a six over midwicket. He eventually fell to an easy catch in the covers soon after. 

The Middle Order Conundrum

Pandey, who came into the side, on the back of his performances for SRH, cut one too close to him. Australia had their tails up at that time with slower bowlers being economical and amidst wickets. KL Rahul, who felt the pressure of scoring runs, too soon perished, mistiming a lofted shot to long-on. India were 92-5, with too much ask from lower middler order again. 

Pandya, who had set ODIs on fire with a couple of 90s, tried to up the ante, smoking a six, but soon mistimed one. India were 114-6 in 16.5 overs. Jadeja, like in the last ODI, came to India’s rescue and took special liking to Hazelwood, finding boundaries with ease, and helping India finish at 161-7. It looked like a chaseable total, especially with Bumrah not playing, but it gave bowlers some chance. 

Fate turned for India when Jadeja while batting, was hit on the helmet, and limped off the ground too. According to new ICC rules, a team can ask for a like-for-like concussion substitute and India went to Yuzvendra Chahal. One could see Aussie coach Langer upset with the decision, but it was well within the rules. That allowed Chahal to bowl 4 overs. 

The Aussie Innings

Australia started pretty well, though Washington Sundar, bowled two economical overs in the powerplay. Mohammad Shami rested in the last ODI, was too full or too short. Finch especially punished him for losing the length on an even pitch. Australia raced to 55-0 in 7.3 overs, and it seemed like it was all over for India. However, concussion substitute Chahal had other ideas. He first knocked off well-settled Finch who holed out to Pandya, and then he got the prize wicket of Smith, who slog-swept one towards midwicket, and Samson plucked a magnificent catch with the ball dipping on him. It was easy to say that Australia had lost two of their star batsmen at that stage. However, Australia sent in the ever-dangerous Maxwell, with the hope of quick runs, and brief collapse. 

Natarajan, the debutant bowler, and another IPL sensation got Maxwell early with a full delivery that had Maxwell plump before the wicket. With the wicket of Maxwell, India smelt blood and never looked back. Natarajan and Chahal controlled the innings in the middle overs, and Australia went from 75-2 to 126-6 in no time. With required run rate increasing, and wickets falling, it was a mere formality in the end. India eventually won by 11 runs. India now take a 1-0 lead in the series, with the second t20I to be played on December 6 in Sydney, which has been a happy hunting ground for the home team. 

Final Words – Jadeja and Chahal Star

Today’s match might just make headlines for concussion substitute, with commentators discussing it at length. Glen McGrath made a point when he said that he did not see any physio come out when Jadeja was hit on the helmet, and he seemed to be not playing because of a potential hamstring injury. While India appealed for a substitute and got it, it was clear that there were arguments against the decision.

David Boon, the match referee, was seen clearing telling Langer that it was within the rules of the game. Later, when Finch was asked to comment on the same, he right gave a diplomatic answer, to avoid any controversy. Kohli defended the argument by commenting that Jadeja felt dizzy, and it was a fair call. Well, one can say that India got lucky, as Chahal & Jadeja made a significant star impact, and also got the Man of the Match award!