Team India suffered a horrific defeat to Australia on Tuesday in the first T20I of a three-game series in Mohali. Despite a great show with Hardik Pandya’s bat, who crushed 71* from 30 balls, Team India failed to defend a 209 goal. Cameron Green (61) and Matthew Wade (45*) took the opportunity and gave Australia a four-wicket victory. The pacer duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel leaked a total of 101 runs in their combined eight overs.
Bhuvneshwar’s bowling in the death overs in particular has been a concern over the past few matches as he allowed a total of 16 runs in the 19th on Tuesday. However, former Australia cricketer Matthew Hayden came out in support of Bhuvneshwar and called him a “good finisher.”
“I disagree, I think he can and has been a very good finisher. I think that’s his role, I mean obviously his role is to take wickets up front, but if you skipper one or two left of your will at the end, he can do that,” Hayden told Star Sports.
Bhuvneshwar has proved very expensive in the death overs in recent matches. In the recently concluded Asian Cup, the pacer leaked 19 and 14 runs in the 19th in defeats to Pakistan and Sri Lanka respectively.
Before the game, it was Hardik’s second half-century of T20I, and the knock was especially crucial as India scored 208/6 in their innings. Previously, KL Rahul (55 of 35) and Suryakumar Yadav (46 of 25) had set the stage for India.
It wasn’t enough, though, as Australia chased the target with four deliveries left.
Cameron Green’s 61 from 30 deliveries at the top of the order and Matthew Wade’s unbeaten 45 from 21 batting at number 7 led the visitors to a 1-0 series lead.
Axar Patel shone with the ball, taking three wickets for just 17 runs on his four overs, but the rest of the Indian bowlers were taken to the cleaners by the Australian batters.
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