Australia Deduct Sensational Last-ball Victory > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Australia pull off sensational last-ball victory

Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins saw their team through in a nervy finish

Nathan Coulter-Nile's three-fer and Glenn Maxwell's half-century helped Australia get their India tour underway with a nervy three-wicket win in the low-scoring thriller in Visakhapatnam on Sunday (February 24).

Coulter-Nile overturned India's brisk start, after Aaron Finch interested the hosts in to bat first, with three quick wickets in the middle overs to keep India to a modest 126 for 7 in the T20I series opener despite KL Rahul's half-century on comeback. Australia's chase was jolted on either side of Maxwell's counter-attacking fifty, but unlike the Indian tail, Australia held their nerve to steal 14 off the final over for a last-ball win and a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

Chasing 127, Australia got off to a shaky start. The move to open with Marcus Stoinis backfired for the visitors as he was run out at the bowler's end on the final ball of the second over. Jasprit Bumrah then dismissed Finch off the very first ball the Australian captain faced to make it two wickets for India in as many deliveries. Finch took the team's review with him on his way back, trapped leg-before on seaming in delivery that kept a tad low and beat the inside edge to strike him on his front leg.

In-form Maxwell got things moving again for the visitors, expertly piercing the gap between cover and mid-off to ruin an otherwise tight over from Bumrah and get off the mark, before toying with Umesh Yadav in the following over and dispatching three more to the fence. Virat Kohli brought back the leggie, Yuzvendra Chahal, but Maxwell pounced on the two short deliveries served to him and picked up a six and a four as Australia finished the PowerPlay with 41 for 2 on the board.

The free-flow of runs slowed down once India brought on their slower bowlers after the powerplay. Even though debuting Mayank Markande proved a tad expensive - with Maxwell hitting him for his second six to move into his 40s - Krunal Pandya kept a check from the other end. D'Arcy Short hit a boundary through the covers to raise Australia's fifty first and then brought up the fifty of his partnership with Maxwell with a single in the following over.

Maxwell, who was once batting on 45 off 31, raised his half-century only off the 40th delivery in the 13th over but didn't last long after the milestone. Chahal had his revenge finally with a tossed up delivery outside off and the Australia all-rounder holed out to KL Rahul at long-off on 56. Much like India's innings earlier in the evening, Maxwell's wicket triggered a collapse that saw Australia slip from 89 for 2 to 113 for 7.

Short's run out, after a run-a-ball 37, was a terrible communication fail. Australia's debutant Peter Handscomb called him for a second, after clipping the ball to the left of fine-leg fielder Pandya, and then decided against it with both batsmen stranded in the middle of the pitch.

Pandya had more to contribute as he bowled Ashton Turner with a flatter, quicker delivery in his final over to wrap up his quota with figures of 1 for 17. Markande made amends in his final over, giving away only five and leaving Australia with 16 to get off the 12 remaining deliveries.

Handscomb had a chance to redeem himself but ran into a fired-up Bumrah, who struck twice off successive deliveries to threaten a come-from-behind win for the home team. The pacer induced a top-edge off Handscomb, off a short ball, and then followed it up with the perfect yorker to knock over Coulter-Nile's stumps and finish with figures of 3 for 16.

A quality penultimate over from Bumrah meant Umesh had as many as 14 to defend off the final over but Australia's No. 8 and 9 - Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins - held their nerve better, hit a boundary each and ran hard between the wickets to steal the required runs and, with that, a win that almost slipped away.

Earlier, India's innings was a tale of two halves, with comeback man Rahul hitting an effortless fifty in the first half to get the hosts off to a flying start and then Coulter-Nile curbing it with his three strikes that exposed India's long tail very early.

Replacing Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order, Rahul justified his selection with a 35-ball half-century. Despite losing Rohit Sharma early, to Jason Behrendorff in the third over, Rahul provided India the impetus in the powerplay, picking a couple of boundaries in both overs of Richardson's opening spell. Rahul was the dominant partner in his 55-run partnership with his skipper Kohli, who, in a rare failure to convert his start, fell for 24 off 17 while trying to take the aerial route off Adam Zampa.

India blew it spectacularly from there on. Rishabh Pant's run out was down to the sheer brilliance of Behrendorff, who cut off a definite boundary and fired in the throw to the keeper that caught the left-hander mid-pitch and with no time to turn back. Shortly afterwards, Rahul raised his fifty, with Dhoni for company at the other end.

However, Coulter-Niles's double strike in the 13th over turned the game on its head. The pacer got Rahul to toe-end a catch to mid-off off the second delivery and then flattened Dinesh Karthik's mid-stump to wrap up the over and India's middle-order.

With a long tail that India fielded by leaving Vijay Shankar out of the mix, Dhoni was left to fend for himself when Pandya top-edged Coulter-Nile in his following over, beaten by pace and extra bounce. From a comfortable 80 for 2, India were down to 100 for 6 by the end of the 15th over. Dhoni got little support from the other end, refused singles to shield the tail-enders but hit Australia's best bowler on the day for a six in the final over to lift India to a sub-par, though respectable, 126.

Brief scores: India 126/7 on 20 overs (KL Rahul 50, MS Dhoni 29*; Nathan Coulter-Nile 3-26) lost to Australia 127/7 in 20 overs (Glenn Maxwell 56, D'Arcy Short 37; Jasprit Bumrah 3-16) by three wickets.

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