Australia 141-1 (Watson 72) beat
India 140-7 (Watson 3-34) by 9 wickets
ICC World T20, Group 2 Match, Colombo
Report by Chetan Narula in Colombo
In the second match of the day at R. Premadasa Stadium, Australia blanked India by eight wickets as the first round of Super Eight matches in the ICC World Twenty20 concluded.
The city of Colombo would have liked the Aussie batting display as the Super Eights kicked off here in some style, after Pakistan beat South Africa in a humdinger earlier in the day.
Chasing a competitive 141 runs on a track that had slowed down through the day, Shane Watson and David Warner made mockery of India's five-bowler attack. Just as they were getting started, a small shower came in, but that was hardly an excuse.
It all cleared up in just less than five minutes and perhaps didn’t even get wet enough for the fielding side to get into trouble. The two opening batsmen though were trouble enough.
The Aussies duo put up a huge 131 runs for the opening wicket, taking the match away from India’s grasp. They weren’t in any bother against spinners or medium-pacers, hitting them out of the park at will. In all they hit ten sixes, seven from Watson’s blade and three off Warner’s bat.
The latter hit more fours, seven, and Watson only two, but they had already done their job on the Indian moral. Despite playing a bowling attack that suited conditions, they just couldn’t make inroads, and paid dearly for poor bowling. Mostly it was short, but when pitched up, they were hit hard as both Warner and Watson didn’t want to leave anything for the latter batsmen to do.
Such was the ferocity of their hitting that Zaheer Khan was the best bowler on display, without any wickets, and just on economy. He bowled three overs for 18 runs. Yuvraj Singh (one for 16) was the only wicket-taker, that too when it had been reduce to a lost cause.
Earlier, India decided to drop Virender Sehwag to make way for a fifth bowler. It seemed the right decision at the time, but in the wake of this massive victory, they will probably revisit that line of thinking. Irfan Pathan did the job though for this particular match, scoring 31 runs off 30 balls. He hit two fours and one six, while wickets fell around him. Gautam Gambhir (17), Virat Kohli (15) and Yuvraj Singh (8) disappointed, when the onus was on them to score when playing a batsman short.
Rohit Sharma (1) completely misjudged an incoming delivery from Mitchell Starc, leaving MS Dhoni (15) and Suresh Raina (26) with a lot to do at 74 for five in the twelfth over. They added 30 runs for the sixth wicket but this was just not India’s day. Shane Watson and Pat Cummins routed their lower batting as the Men in Blue could only manage 140 for seven in their allotted 20 overs.
Man of the Match Watson was their best bowler with three for 34 from four overs while Cummins (two for 16) finally came good too.
India next play arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday, while Australia will take on South Africa in the first game that day.
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