India are set to embark on a tour of Australia to play 3 T20Is, 4 Test matches and 3 ODIs. The first of the 3 T20I matches will be played on the 21st November at Brisbane. Both teams have been known for their bitter rivalry in the past across all formats.
On the eve of their tour of Australia, let us go down memory lane to enjoy India’s three best T20I wins against Australia.
#3 2007 World T20 semi-final at Durban
India met Australia in the crucial semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2007. India were led by a young captain MS Dhoni. For the first time, they were playing in a major tournament without their 3 stalwarts Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, and Rahul Dravid.
Earlier in the tournament, India’s miraculous win against host South Africa knocked them out of the tournament. In the process, India reached the semi-final of the first T20 World Cup.
At Durban, Dhoni was once again lucky with the toss and he had no hesitation in electing to bat first.
India lost both the openers, Sehwag and Gambhir with the Indian score on 41. Yuvraj Singh, fresh from his world record performance of 6 sixes in an over of Broad, joined Robin Uthappa at the crease.
Yuvraj was greeted by a short-pitched delivery from Stuart Clark which sailed past him. The second delivery too was a pitched short, but this time Yuvraj was ready for it as he smacked it over deep square leg for a six. Yuvraj who was in terrific form in the entire duration of the World Cup started his innings with a six. Ominous signs for Australia.
In the next over, Yuvraj played a pick up shot off Brett Lee which sailed over deep backward square. To upset the rhythm of Yuvraj, the Australian Captain for this match Adam Gilchrist brought in slow bowler Andrew Symonds who was hit for a four and a six by Yuvraj. In between, Uthappa helped himself to a six off Symonds. He gave away 19 runs in his first over which shifted the momentum towards India.
Yuvraj took a liking to Stuart Clark who was once again hit for 21 runs in his last over. All those 21 runs came from the bat of Yuvraj. In that same over, Yuvraj completed his 50 off 21 balls.
At the other end, Uthappa clobbered Mitchell Johnson for two consecutive sixes, one over long-off and another over mid-wicket before he ran himself out in the same over for a well made 34. The situation was tailor-made for Dhoni to walk in with 5 overs remaining in the innings. Dhoni started off the innings in his typical fashion with 2 consecutive fours off Symonds.
The Australian Captain Gilchrist took a gamble in the 17th over by throwing the ball to Michael Clarke. That move paid off as Clarke removed the dangerous looking Yuvraj for 70 which came off just 30 balls at a devastating strike rate of 233. Dhoni took over from Yuvraj and scored 36 off 18 balls. India reached a formidable 188 at the end of 20 overs.
Australia started off their innings with the dangerous opening pair of Hayden and Gilchrist. Gilchrist started his innings in a typical fashion hitting 2 fours and 2 sixes before Sreesanth knocked his middle stump out of the ground.
The loss of Gilchrist slowed down the Aussies a little bit before they saw Joginder Sharma at the bowling crease. Joginder was milked for 18 runs in his first over and suddenly Mathew Hayden started feeling everything off the middle of the bat. The loss of Brad Hodge didn’t stop Hayden from playing his shots.
Both Hayden and new batsman Andrew Symonds was in a murderous mood as the 11th over of the innings bowled by Irfan Pathan went for 16 runs. Surprisingly, Dhoni brought on Sehwag to bowl the 13th over of the innings.
Hayden gleefully accepted the gift and raced away to his 50 and plundered 20 runs in that Sehwag’s over. In the last 6 overs, Australia needed 60 for a win. In a desperate attempt to break the partnership, Dhoni brought back his main strike bowler Sreesanth. With the fourth delivery of his new spell, Sreesanth, bowling from round the wicket, yorked Mathew Hayden.
But Andrew Symonds was still there at the other end. Australia needed 41 runs in the last 4 overs. New man Mike Hussey flat batted Irfan Pathan over long-on. However, Pathan made amends by removing the well set Andrew Symonds for 43.
Australia needed 30 from 3 overs. Harbhajan bowled the 18th over. He struck with his very first ball when Michael Clarke yorked himself. Harbhajan gave away just 3 runs as both Hussey and Haddin struggled to get going.
RP Singh followed it up with a 5 run 19th over. Haddin played a strange innings scoring 5 runs off 8 balls. Joginder Sharma bowled the last over with 22 needed for a win. After playing out 2 dot balls at the beginning of the over, Mike Hussey succumbed to the third ball leaving Australia to score a mathematically improbable 22 off 3 balls.
In the end, India won that close game by a slightly comfortable margin of 15 runs. Australia were very much in control of the situation until they lost the plot in the 18th and 19th over of the innings. But the Aussies never knew when the match slipped out of their grasp.
India went on to lift the first T20 World Cup beating Pakistan in the final by a narrow margin of 5 runs.
#2 Third T20I at Sydney in 2016
India had already taken an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series before the teams met again at Sydney for the third T20 match.
In the five-match one-day series that preceded the T20 series, Australia took a lead of 4-0 before India came back to win the last one-day match at Sydney. At that point in time, the Indian coach Ravi Shastri announced that his team would try for a 4-4 result in the combined 8 matches of white ball cricket. Hence the last T20 match at Sydney assumed so much importance.
Shane Watson was captaining Australia for this match. He won the toss and elected to bat first. Thereafter it was a one-man show with Watson going all guns blazing scoring an unbeaten 124 off 71 balls with 10 fours and 6 sixes. Due to Watson’s single-handed effort, Australia reached 197 in 20 overs.
India were off to a flying start when Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan put on 46 runs in 3.2 overs. The first over bowled by Shaun Tait yielded just 7 runs. But both the openers warmed themselves up in the second over bowled by Scott Boland scoring a boundary each.
The second over of Tait opened the floodgates with Dhawan nailing 2 fours and a six. That over went for 24 runs. Watson brought himself on in the fourth over of the innings and met with immediate success with the wicket of Dhawan.
Kohli was in fine form right through the Australian tour as he went after Boland and Andrew Tye. At the end of Power Play, India were 74 for 1. From 10, the required run rate dropped down to 8.85 at the end of the first 6 overs of Power Play.
At the halfway mark, India were 102 for 1 with both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli well set. Rohit Sharma reached his 50 in the 12th over of the innings. However, he got out immediately after reaching his 50. Raina got a life before opening his account when Bancroft missed an easy stumping. The next ball was swept for a six.
At the other end, Kohli duly completed his customary 50 before losing his wicket in the same over. Yuvraj Singh joined Raina with India needing 51 off the last 5 overs. Yuvraj continued to struggle in the series as India could manage only 17 runs in the 16th and 17th over. Luckily for India, Raina was in full flow as he managed 12 runs in the 18th over bowled by Andrew Tye. India needed 22 in 2 overs.
Watson had a wonderful match until then and he finished off in style conceding just 5 runs in the 19th over of the innings. Yuvraj was on 5 off 9 balls. India needed 17 runs in the last over. Australia thought they were through with the out-of-form Yuvraj on strike against the death over specialist Andrew Tye.
The first ball was a length ball on the leg stump and Yuvraj nonchalantly flicked it to fine leg for a four. The second ball was another leg stump half volley which Yuvraj lifted over mid-wicket for a six. The Australians were stunned by Yuvraj’s sudden timely outbreak. With those two telling blows, Yuvraj brought India back into the game. India needed 7 from 4 balls.
Yuvraj and Raina crossed over for a bye to reduce the target to 6 from 3 balls. Raina managed 4 runs in the next two balls. India needed 2 runs to win from the last ball. All three results were possible at that stage. The last ball was a short ball on the off-stump which Raina managed to lift it over point for a four. India won the match off the very last ball of the match. Raina remained not out on 49 off 25 balls.
Shane Watson was the man-of-the-match for his all-round performance while Kohli was adjudged the man-of-the-series. In the ICC rankings for T20I, India jumped from 8th position to 1st position after this clean sweep. Thus India became the No 1 team both in Tests and T20I.
That was the first time ever Australia were whitewashed in a home series. For India, it was a good end to the tour after their dismal show in the Test and ODI series in Australia.
#1 2016 World T20 match at Mohali
This match was a virtual quarter-final as the winner of the match would go through to the semi-final of World Cup 2016. India were led by MS Dhoni while Steve Smith was the captain for Australia.
Smith won the toss and elected to bat first. The Australian openers Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch put on 53 runs in 4.2 overs. Khawaja was the dominant partner whose 26 was studded with 6 fours. Ashwin went for 31 runs in 2 overs but took the important wicket of David Warner.
To stem the flow of runs, Dhoni brought on Yuvraj who got Captain Smith’s wicket for 2. Yuvraj, Jadeja and Ashish Nehra were all economical as they combined together to bowl 10 overs and gave away just 59 runs and took 2 wickets. In the remaining 10 overs bowled by Bumrah, Ashwin and Hardik Pandya, Australia managed 101 runs to reach 160. It was a par score on a good batting wicket at Mohali.
India started their chase poorly as they lost both the openers Rohit and Dhawan before the end of the Power Play. Raina followed suit and at the end of the 8th over India were dangerously placed at 50 for 3. Shane Watson once again proved his value to the Australian team as a bowler with the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina in his first 2 overs.
But India were lucky to have the chase master Virat Kohli at the wicket. When Raina got out, Kohli was on 13 off 11 balls. At the half-way mark, India were 65 for 3 with Kohli on 19 and Yuvraj on 9. Yuvraj was battling through an injury and hence was struggling.
Adam Zampa bowled the 11th over and conceded just 3 runs and the required run rate had crossed 10. India managed to score the required run rate in the 12th and 13th overs as 21 runs came off these overs. Yuvraj’s struggle at the crease came to an end when Faulkner got rid of him for 21.
Dhoni walked into a familiar situation with India needing 67 runs from 6 overs. It was now or never for Team India as India had the two best batsmen at the crease in the given situation who could do it for them. When Yuvraj Singh got out, Kohli was batting on 35 off 30 balls. But the advent of Dhoni to the wicket spurred up Kohli as he smashed Hazlewood for 12 runs in the 16th over of the innings.
India now needed 47 from 4 overs. In the 17th over bowled by Watson, Kohli completed his 50 off 39 balls. But Shane Watson once again came to Australia’s rescue by conceding only 8 runs in that over. Watson finished with excellent figures of 4-0-23-2.
The asking rate jumped to 13 in the last 3 overs. Kohli was on strike for the 18th over bowled by James Faulkner. The first ball was pulled away to deep backward square leg for a four. Faulkner overcompensated in the next ball by pitching up which was square driven for a four.
Now Faulkner didn’t know what to bowl but Kohli didn’t give him any chance as he stepped out of the crease to loft the third ball over long-off for a six. The 18th over cost Australia 19 runs and suddenly it became a manageable equation for India with 20 needed from the last 2 overs.
Nathan Coulter-Nile started the 19th over with a dot ball. But his next 3 balls went for boundaries as Kohli square drove through point, pulled one to square leg and lofted the next one over extra cover. The last ball of the over was cover-driven for four. Coulter-Nile and Australia were rattled.
Dhoni, as always, gave his finishing touch to the match by scooping the low full toss to long-on for a four. India won the match by 4 wickets with 5 balls to spare. Kohli remained not out on 82 and Dhoni on 18. Kohli’s last 50 runs came off a meager 21 balls. Kohli and Dhoni added 67 runs in 6 overs to take India to an improbable win which knocked Australia out of the tournament.
To the disappointment of all the Indians, India lost the semi-final to West Indies where the Indian bowlers ended up bowling 3 no-balls which produced them wickets.
In the forthcoming T20I series against Australia, India would wish to display the same kind of fierce rivalry as in the past. An exciting series is in prospect.