ICC World T20 Results: Yuvraj, Bowlers Give India Massive Victory over Australia
By Deepak Vikraman | March 31, 2014 3:33 AM EST
There would have been a couple of things India would have wanted to tick on their checklist going into their final ICC World T20 Group 2 game against dead and buried Australia. One would have been to bat first and see how they defend a total, and the other to give Yuvraj Singh some time in the middle and get him back to form.
Well, after another utterly dominant day of T20 cricket from India, they managed to do both with great aplomb, as they cantered to a massive 73-run victory over a sorry Australia side, who had been left deflated after being knocked out of the tournament courtesy Pakistan's win over Bangladesh earlier in the day.
Put into bat, India were far from their best, but courtesy a 43-ball 60 (5x4, 4x6) from Yuvraj Singh, they managed a decent 159 for seven from their 20 overs.
If they thought they were a few runs short heading into the second innings, they needn't have worried, as Australia crashed quicker than a meteor, to be dismissed for a mere 86 in 16.2 overs, with R Ashwin helping himself to an easy four-wicket haul.
The victory means India top Group 2, and will play the second-placed team from Group 1, with the winner of the match between Pakistan and West Indies joining them in the semifinals from the former section.
It was a train-wreck of an innings from Australia, who seemed more like an Associate side fumbling their way around rather than the supposed favourites heading into the World T20.
Everything that could go wrong for the Aussies in the second innings, went wrong, as they failed to get hold of any particular bowler, while wickets kept coming every few balls for India.
Aaron Finch was the first to go, in the fourth over, with R Ashwin inducing a false stroke which Virat Kohli held onto nicely at mid-on. The wickets just kept coming from there as Cameron White and Shane Watson followed suit quickly.
David Warner (19, 21b, 1x4, 1x6) never looked comfortable at the crease, and it came as no surprise when a big shot went astray, with Ashwin picking up another.
Glenn Maxwell (23, 12b, 3x6), despite the situation, was his usual self, looking to smoke every ball for a six, and after a couple of successful ones, the curtains were drawn with Ashwin getting the right-hander in a muddle and clipping his leg stump.
Australia, with nothing to lose, just seemed to think let's try and hit every ball for a six, and that fell right into India's hands as they ran through the batsmen like a knife on butter, with Ashwin (3.2-0-11-4) fittingly finishing things off in the 17th over.
The first innings was a patchy one from India, with only a few lusty blows from the willow which had forgotten what it was like to be hit in the middle taking the side to a decent total.
India made a couple of changes, giving chances to Ajinkya Rahane and Mohit Sharma in place of Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammad Shami, with the former opening the innings along with Rohit Sharma.
Rohit fell quickly, seemingly a little depressed by not batting with his usual partner, edging one to James Muirhead at short third man off part-time spinner Brad Hodge, who opened the bowling for Australia.
Rahane played a couple of nice-looking shots and looked good in the middle, with Virat Kohli playing like Virat Kohli as India jumped to a decent 44 for one after the first six overs.
However, the big man fell off the second ball of the seventh over, holing out to Cameron White at long-off with the young leg-spinner Muirhead picking up a huge wicket.
Rahane (19, 16b, 2x4) also fell soon after, edging one to Brad Haddin off Doug Bollinger and with it setting the stage for Yuvraj Singh to come to the fore.
The left-hander scratched his way around for his first few balls, looking to find the middle of that willow, and the longer he stayed, the better he looked. At the other end, Suresh Raina put India in further trouble, finding long-on off Maxwell, with MS Dhoni (24, 20b, 1x4, 1x6) coming in and building a match-winning partnership with Yuvraj.
The two put on 84 from seven overs, which took India from a precarious 66 for four to 150 for five, with Yuvraj in particular turning on the style in the death overs, apart from the final two, to give India the decent total.
More than enough runs it proved to be, as Australia's miserable World T20 only got a little worse.
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