Moises Henriques and Travis Head squared off a eight-wicket win for Australia in their second T20I against India at Guwahati’s Barsapara stadium on Tuesday.
Australia were set a target of 119 to chase after India were taken apart by Jason Behrendorff and the rest of the Australian bowling line up. This win helps Australia level the three match series 1-1 and sets up a decider of the third match.
Behrendorff, in his first spell, blew away the Indian top order, taking the wickets of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey. India never recovered from that onslaught and ended up with a meager total for their bowlers to defend.
Australia won the toss and elected to field first. Guwahati had received some rains before the match which meant that there was early swing on offer. Behrendorff, who made his debut for Australia in the first T20I, took full advantage of that as the Indians failed to reassess what a good total might be. Rohit Sharma started off the innings with a four, a dot ball and a four again.
At that point, it looked India would run away to another series win. But then came the first blow. Behrendorff trapped Rohit leg before and Barspara stadium, savouring its first ever international match, went silent. That was only for a moment as captain Virat Kohli came in to bat and the crowd went up in expectation once again. But then Kohli was dismissed off the very next ball and the stadium was back into silent mode.
Behrendorff then took the wicket of Manish Pandey in his next over and Shikhar Dhawan in the one after that. Dhawan was dismissed by a brilliant catch by his Sunrisers Hyderabad team mate David Warner. India were 27/4 at that point and Australia’s celebrations showed that they now truly believed that they can actually record a win here. By this time, dew came into play but India had been dealt with too many blows too soon to get any momentum going.
MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav fended off the Australians for a few overs before the former was dismissed in the ninth over by Adam Zampa. jadhav followed two overs later and India truly were in doldrums with their possibility of reaching a three-figure mark looking doubtful.
Hardik Pandya then gave India some momentum with Kuldeep Yadav down the other end but soon, his resistance also gave away. By the time the last over came, it was Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal in the middle. The two may have attacked in pairs in the matches before this with the ball in hand but their batting partnership produced just three runs before India were all out for 118 with 20 overs bowled.
Australia’s innings did start off on a shaky note. Such has been India’s dominance over their opponents this year that it looked like they could pull off a win when Virat Kohli slammed the ball to the ground after taking a catch off David Warner.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the man with the wicket. Warner’s opening partner Aaron Finch was then dismissed by Jasprit Bumrah. But Travis Head and Moises Henriques then made sure that there were no blows to the Australian armour.
They took baby steps in the beginning before launching an all out attack on the Indian bowlers to see Australia over the finish line. Henriques scored a 50 in the process. This means that the series will be decided when the two teams meet in Hyderabad on Friday.