On a perfect batting strip Yuvraj Singh scripted a grand comeback story by steering India to a handsome six-wicket win over Australia in the one-off Twenty20 international at the Khanderi stadium near here on Friday.
Showing remarkable composure and appetite to score quickly, the left-hander (77 not out) took charge after Virat Kohli’s fall in the 12th over.
Yuvraj’s class and stroke production helped him to completely dominate the unconquered hundred plus partnership with captain M.S. Dhoni for the fifth wicket.
Earlier, after being put in to bat the Australian openers gave their side a rousing start touching 74 by the start of the seventh over. Left hander Nic Maddinson — who also gave a flying start to his international career with some daring shots — and the stocky Aaron Finch went on a leather hunt leaving the almost full stadium silent.
Australia would have been disappointed that its final tally was perhaps short by 30 runs. All credit here to the Kumars — Bhuvneshwar and Vinay — who got into the wicket-taking act with their use of the crease and variations in pace.
Though Finch began the onslaught with an on-drive shot off Bhuvneshwar, it was the debutant Maddinson, who flourished in the Australian under-19 and ‘A’ teams, who came out firing. The bowlers to suffer were Vinay Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma.
Maddinson perished trying to flay Vinay Kumar across the line, but his 16-ball 34 had the fielders wilting as they conceded extra runs through some poor efforts in the inner circle.
The clever Vinay Kumar’s double strike that dispatched Shane Watson and George Bailey saw India recover mid-way, but Glenn Maxwell extracted a heavy penalty off some abysmal bowling from Ashwin and put his team again on a firm footing.
Maxwell clubbed Ashwin for four sixes as the spinner finished at none for 41 off 12 balls.
Jadeja made good use of his cunning left-arm spin and Australia’s innings faltered once he had Maxwell caught at long-on by Ishant.
Australia: Aaron Finch c & b Vinay Kumar 89 (52b, 14x4, 1x6), Nic Maddinson b Bhuvneshwar 34 (16b, 6x4, 1x6), Shane Watson lbw b Vinay Kumar 6 (5b, 1x4), George Bailey c Jadeja b Vinay Kumar 0 (3b), Glenn Maxwell c Ishant b Jadeja 27 (13b, 4x6), Brad Haddin c Dhoni b Bhuvneshwar 5 (3b, 1x4), Moises Henriques c Yuvraj b Bhuvneshwar 12 (12b, 1x4), Nathan Coulter-Nile (not out) 12 (11b, 1x4), James Faulkner (not out) 10 (5b, 1x6); Extras (w-6): 6; Total (for 7 wkts in 20 overs): 201.
Fall of wickets: 1-56 (Maddinson), 2-84 (Watson), 3-84 (Bailey), 4-124 (Maxwell), 5-146 (Haddin), 6-174 (Finch), 7-180 (Henriques).
India bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-0-35-3, Vinay Kumar 4-0-26-3, Ravichandran Ashwin 2-0-41-0, Ishant Sharma 4-0-52-0, Ravindra Jadeja 4-0-23-1, Virat Kohli 2-0-24-0.
India: Rohit Sharma c Haddin b McKay 8 (8b, 1x6), Shikhar Dhawan st. Haddin b Doherty 32 (19b, 5x4), Suresh Raina c Watson b Coulter-Nile 19 (13b, 2x4, 1x6), Virat Kohli c Faulkner b McKay 29 (22b, 2x4, 1x6), Yuvraj Singh (not out) 77 (35b, 8x4, 5x6), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (not out) 24 (21b, 2x4); Extras (lb-4, w-9): 13; Total (for 4 wkts in 19.4 overs): 202.
Fall of wickets: 1-12 (Rohit Sharma), 2-50 (Raina), 3-80 (Dhawan), 4-100 (Kohli).
Australia bowling: Shane Watson 3.4-0-29-0, Clint McKay 4-0-50-2, James Faulkner 4-0-36-0, Nathan Coulter-Nile 4-0-44-1, Moises Henriques 1-0-15-0, Xavier Doherty 3-0-24-1.