VISAKHAPATNAM: Glenn Maxwell hit a crucial half-century as Australia edged out India by three wickets in a thrilling last-ball finish to the first Twenty20 International here on Sunday.
Pat Cummins hit a four and took two runs to complete a nervous 127-run chase after his fellow paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile restricted India to 126-7.
Maxwell, who made 56, put together 84 runs with D’Arcy Short for the third wicket to put Australia on course before Jasprit Bumrah hit back with three wickets.
Bumrah got debutant Peter Handscomb caught behind for 13 and then bowled Coulter-Nile on the final ball of the 19th over to keep the game in balance.
Jhye Richardson and Cummins — both not out on seven each — then kept their cool in the final six balls against Umesh Yadav to steer the Aussies home.
But the day belonged to Coulter-Nile who returned figures of 3-26 in his four overs, receiving the man of the match award.
Indian batsman K.L. Rahul hit 50 off 36 balls. His 55-run second wicket stand with skipper Virat Kohli, who made 24, gave India a brisk start but the hosts lost momentum after losing three quick wickets.
Adam Zampa got Kohli’s prized scalp with his leg spin and Coulter-Nile claimed the wicket of Rahul to check India on a tricky pitch.
Veteran wicketkeeper/batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni made an unbeaten 29.
The second match is in Bangalore on Wednesday.
R.G. Sharma c Zampa b Behrendorff 5
K.L. Rahul c Finch b Coulter-Nile 50
V. Kohli c Coulter-Nile b Zampa 24
R.R. Pant run out 3
M.S. Dhoni not out 29
K.D. Karthik b Coulter-Nile 1
K.H. Pandya c Maxwell b Coulter-Nile 1
U.T. Yadav lbw b Cummins 2
Y.S. Chahal not out 0
EXTRAS (LB-2, W-9) 11
TOTAL (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 126
FALL OF WKTS: 1-14, 2-69, 3-80, 4-92, 5-94, 6-100, 7-109.
DID NOT BAT: M. Markande, J.J. Bumrah.
BOWLING: Behrendorff 3-0-16-1; Richardson 4-0-31-0 (1w); Coulter-Nile 4-0-26-3 (1w); Zampa 3-0-22-1 (2w); Cummins 4-0-19-1 (1w); Short 2-0-10-0.
D.J.M. Short run out 37
M.P. Stoinis run out 1
A.J. Finch lbw b Bumrah 0
G.J. Maxwell c Rahul b Chahal 56
P.S.P. Handscomb c Dhoni b Bumrah 13
A.J. Turner b Pandya 0
N.M. Coulter-Nile b Bumrah 4
P.J. Cummins not out 7
J.A. Richardson not out 7
EXTRAS (W-2) 2
TOTAL (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 127
FALL OF WKTS: 1-5, 2-5, 3-89, 4-101, 5-102, 6-113, 7-113.
DID NOT BAT: J.P. Behrendorff, A. Zampa.
Bowling: Bumrah 4-0-16-3; Chahal 4-0-28-1; Yadav 4-0-35-0 (2w); Pandya 4-0-17-1; Markande 4-0-31-0.
RESULT: Australia won by three wickets to lead two-match series 1-0.
UMPIRES: C. Shamshuddin (India) and N.T. Menon (India).
TV UMPIRE: A.K. Chaudhary (India).
MATCH REFEREE: R.S. Madugalle (Sri Lanka).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2019