Australia v India, 1st T20, Adelaide January 26, 2016

Kohli sets up 37-run win for India


India 3 for 188 (Kohli 90*) beat v Australia 151 (Finch 44, Bumrah 3-23) by 37 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Agarkar: India's spinners potent in middle overs

Virat Kohli spent the recent ODI series piling up runs all over Australia, hundreds in two games and half-centuries in two more. He hovered at a run a ball for most of the series, finishing with 381 runs from 384 deliveries. But there were times India might have wished he would change gear instead of remaining on cruise control. That lift in tempo came in the first T20, Kohli's unbeaten 90 from 55 balls setting up an Indian win by 37 runs at Adelaide Oval.

There were others who contributed to the result: Suresh Raina provided valuable support with 41 off 34 balls and Rohit Sharma set India's innings off to a strong start with 31 from 20 after Aaron Finch sent them in. Jasprit Bumrah and India's spinners then stifled Australia in the chase, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja each collecting two wickets and keeping the runs tight, giving Australia an unwelcome but important taste of what they might face in the World T20 in India in March.

But Kohli was the real architect of this win. Remarkable though it is, Kohli is yet to score a century in his prolific Twenty20 career, and he looked like he might rectify that in his 176th match in the format. Kohli passed his previous highest T20 international score of 78 not out and had moved on to 87 by the start of the final over, but faced only the first and last balls of the 20th. Raina was dismissed off the second ball, and MS Dhoni used the others to smash 11 not out off three.

It meant India finished on 3 for 188 and from there they deserved to be firm favourites: no team has ever chased down more than 158 to win a T20 international in Australia. There were some encouraging signs early for Australia as Aaron Finch and David Warner rushed to 0 for 34 from the first three overs, but Bumrah helped tie them down and claimed the important wicket of Warner, caught pulling for 17 off 9.

It was a strange sort of match in terms of personnel, full of debutants and returning veterans whose fortunes fluctuated wildly. In his first T20 international Bumrah was excellent, his 3 for 23 key to restricting Australia. His fellow Indian debutant, Hardik Pandya, was all over the place - literally. His first over in international cricket brought five wides on both sides of the pitch, but he bounced back to pick up the wickets of Chris Lynn and Matthew Wade to finish with 2 for 37 off three.

Australia's debutant, Travis Head, was lbw to Jadeja for 2 from 5 balls, swiping across the line during a slump in which Australia lost three wickets for four runs in two overs. At the other end of the experience scale Shaun Tait, in his first international for nearly five years, leaked 45 from four overs; Ashish Nehra bowled reasonably for 1 for 30, also playing for his country for the first time since 2011; Shane Watson bowled well for 2 for 24; and Yuvraj Singh had little to do.

Little, but not quite nothing. Yuvraj bowled one over for 10 but his major impact came with major impact to his hands, snaring a catch at cover when Lynn drove with fearsome power. Lynn fell for 17 off 16, having struggled against the spinners, and Australia will want to see improvement from him over the next two games if he is to be in World T20 contention. The spinners were both outstanding, Ashwin with 2 for 28 and Jadeja with 2 for 21, each from four overs.

Australia were bowled out in the 20th over of their pursuit, reaching just 151 as regular wickets throughout their innings hurt their momentum. They had wanted to chase, they just didn't want to chase this many. Notably, wickets fell in only two overs of India's innings, Watson having claimed two in his first over of the match and James Faulkner picking up a consolation one in the 20th. Faulkner, Tait and Kane Richardson all leaked more than 10 an over.

Perhaps things might have been different had Richardson caught Rohit at long leg off Tait in the first over of the match, as he should have but for a misjudgment of the ball's flight. Then again, maybe that would only have served to give Kohli almost a full 20 overs at the crease, which could hardly have served Australia well given the form he was in. Kohli struck nine fours and two sixes, but rarely played what could be called a risky shot.

After Watson got rid of both Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan, the Kohli-Raina partnership was worth 134, India's third-highest for any wicket in T20 internationals, and their highest for the third wicket. No bowler escaped punishment from Kohli, who picked runs off the legspin of Cameron Boyce as he easily as he did by using the pace of the fast men. And importantly, after India lost the ODI series 4-1, Kohli found top gear, and found enough runs to keep India out of Australia's reach.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Mohammad Faisal Qureshi on January 28, 2016, 19:34 GMT

    I am great fan of Virat Kohli.. i think this is the best T20 combination india have...

  • Al on January 28, 2016, 15:43 GMT

    Our selectors need to keep looking for new talent. Once batsmen figure out Bumrah, it will be game over for India. J&K team has 2 good players - medium pacer Ram Dayal, and all rounder Pervez Rasool. Rasool has already proved himself in whatever limited chances he got. He can be a good option outside India. We all know that Ashwin's bowling is harmless outside India. I bet Ram Dayal can do better than spray the ball @140kph Yadav or Aaron.

  • Dramit Singh on January 28, 2016, 8:13 GMT

    @JUNAIDDDD...agree with you totally mate.i know people of our respective countries support and love cricketers of both india and pakistan.but it was a bit shocking when I heard that on news that a cricket fan from pakistan named umar was arrested in pakistan for cheering virat kohli and india.i know that there are lots and lots of fans in pakistan who love and admire kohli but getting arrested for that was a surprising.

  • Simon on January 28, 2016, 6:28 GMT

    AngeloMathews_hero_SL on January 26, 2016, 13:33 GMT, re Bailey & Maxwell decisions being reversed. kargilboy on January 26, 2016, 13:37 GMT - some rant about general knowledge. You're missing my point. I don't care who would win and what format it is. If the ICC believes technology is the answer then DRS should be used by all countries in all formats. I don't care who would or wouldn't win because of the use of technology, there needs to be some basic level playing field and that's supposed to be the laws of the games. When some countries can choose not to use DRS then the playing field isn't level!

  • Jose on January 28, 2016, 4:50 GMT

    @MERVO ON JANUARY 28, 2016, 1:50 GMT:

    1. Kohli did NOT give any send off to Captain Finch.

    2. Kohli wasn't the captain either. Dhoni was.

    Just stating facts. Perhaps, you are still in the 50-50 mode. That explains.

  • subhasish on January 28, 2016, 4:20 GMT

    Samincolumbip@ every one knows now days Australia pitches are totally flat tany average batsman can score runs in Australia pitches and my 2 point Virat Kohli score 5 test centuries and 2 odi centuries against Australia in Australia plz tell me how many times India wins I think zero and ken Williamson score century against India in India smith average over 40 in India if India produced flat dead pitches like Australia to smith and ken Williamson they also score heavily its all about pitches Sachin Tendulkar avg 35 in Odis in Australia with one century if Sachin Tendulkar play on these flat Australian pitches in his times he score lot more runs and centuries I m very sure Australia prepare ultra flat pitches with no pace at all...plz publish cricinfo

  • Paul on January 28, 2016, 3:53 GMT

    I think the send off was more to do about Smith being mic'd up during the match. It reeks of overconfidence and arrogance - "I don't even have to give my full attention to this game to beat you". I can understand the spray - it almost seemed fitting,as that's what Smith was doing the whole time he was batting - talking. It's not classy by Kohli, but when in Rome....

  • terry on January 28, 2016, 2:52 GMT

    BENGAL-TIGERS-ROAR i think you'll find williamson also averages more than 40 in all 3 formats, Also hes only had 2 tours to asia and the first one he didnt play that much, his technique in hand over time will assure him of some runs in asia, i think a average of high 30's low 40's in asia would be good,across the board thats probably what the average would be per batsman,jsut poor wickets

  • Veer Bhan Singh on January 28, 2016, 2:46 GMT

    atleast 10 aussie posters have commented here that they really don't care about 20-20 cricket.Guys don't make fool of yourselves infront of entire world. everybody is laughing on you guys for that. In BBL there were crowds of 80 thousand,50 thousand in many matches, so clearly you guys care about this thing.wasn't there something like"Sour grapes".............

  • Merv on January 28, 2016, 1:50 GMT

    I see CA is considering a formal complaint about Kholi's antics and sledging in this match. His send off to the opposing captain was noticed. His captaincy is not strong while he remains such an emotional and over the top character. Emotion is good but captains need to set the best example, not the worst. Dhoni would never have done that.

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