Sport Cricket Australia snaps losing streak with thrilling win over India
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Australia snaps losing streak with thrilling win over India

Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell hits out at the Gabba. Photo: Getty
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Australia has snapped a four-game losing streak in Twenty20 cricket with a thrilling four-run win against India at the Gabba on Wednesday night.

Glenn Maxwell’s innings of 46 from 24 deliveries set up the victory, while Shikhar Dhawan’s powerful 76 from 42 balls wasn’t enough to secure an Indian win.

Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bowl on a hard, green Gabba wicket.

Australia opted to bring in leg-spinner Adam Zampa in place of paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile in the only change to the team that lost to South Africa in the rain-affected, 10-over match last Saturday on the Gold Coast.

India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s opening over conceded just one run as D’Arcy Short and Aaron Finch were determined not to give away cheap wickets early in the innings.

Short struck Australia’s first boundary at the end of the third over as the opener looked to generate some momentum.

Finch was given a life on two at the start of the fourth over when he drove hard at a full-pitched delivery and was dropped at cover by Kohli off the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah.

Short wasn’t so lucky. He lunged hard at the first ball from Khaleel Ahmed and was caught at long-on by Kuldeep Yadav for seven from 12 balls.

At the end of the six-over power play Australia was 1-38.

Chris Lynn was looking to get motoring and in the eighth over he found the keys to the ignition, clubbing three sixes off Ahmed’s third over.

But just as Australia was on the charge, Finch faltered.

The Australian skipper charged at a Yadeev delivery, misjudged the length and sliced a simple catch to Ahmed at gully and was on his way for 27 from 24 deliveries.

After 10 overs Australia was 2-75.

Lynn couldn’t build on his good start and was fooled by a Yadeev top-spinner, spooning a simple catch back to the bowler to be on his way for 37.

Australia was living dangerously. Stoinis survived an LBW decision with a successful DRS challenge at the end of the 12th over and Maxwell narrowly avoided a run out.

Maxwell launched into Krunal Pandya’s bowling in the 14th over with three consecutive sixes as he looked to punish the Indian bowlers.

Rain begun to crash down at the start of the 17th over and forced the players from the field.

The match was reduced to a 17-over contest with Australia finishing at 4-158 after Maxwell was dismissed in the final over.

India was set a rain-adjusted total of 174 to chase.

Openers Rohit Sharma and Dhawan are an intimidating combination at the top of the batting order and they looked to assert themselves from the start, peeling off 35 from the first four overs.

The Australians struck in the fifth over when Sharma skied one off Jason Behrendorff and was caught by Finch for seven.

Dhawan was imposing himself, racing past 50 from just 28 deliveries.

Australia found a breakthrough when Lokesh Rahul was stumped by keeper Alex Carey off Adam Zampa’s bowling for 13.

Kohli joined Dhawan at the crease with India at 2-81, with 93 runs to chase for victory.

Zampa had a chance to break the partnership in the 11th over when he dropped a return catch from Dhawan when the Indian opener was on 65. But his grief turned to joy a few balls later when Kohli was caught at mid-off by Lynn for just four.

Dhawan was next to go as he spooned a Billy Stanlake short ball to third man, where Behrendorff took the catch. The Indian opener’s 76 from 42 deliveries featured 10 boundaries and two sixes and was the standout innings of the match.

It was countered by Zampa’s bowling spell (2-22 off four overs), which was crucial in putting the brakes on India’s surge.

At 4-114 at the end of the 13th over, India still required 60 runs from the final 24 balls.

Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik took 25 runs off Andrew Tye in the 15th over to give the visitors a sniff of victory.

Pant was dismissed for 20, with India needing 18 runs from the last nine deliveries. Pandya joined Karthik at the wicket and, with the final over to come, they required 13 for victory.

It fell to Marcus Stoinis to bowl Australia to victory. When Pandya was dismissed by a sensational diving catch by Maxwell with three balls remaining, the game suddenly swung Australia’s way.

Australia Cricket
Australia celebrates its win over India at the Gabba.

Karthik was fooled by a slower delivery by Stoinis the very next ball and Behrendorff accepted the catch gleefully as Australia claimed a hard-fought win.

Stoinis’ final over was crucial and the West Australian said after the match he relished the pressure of bowling at the death.

“I love bowling, I love being in the spotlight and having a crack. It’s brilliant for us to start the series with a win. It’s obviously been a tough time for us,” Stoinis said.

The series resumes with game two at the MCG in Melbourne on Friday night.