Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo: BCCI)

India’s bowlers failed to defend 208 runs as the hosts lost by four wickets in the first T20I against Australia at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Tuesday. The pace bowlers gave a poor performance as Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel leaked runs in the death overs. Australian batsmen Cameron Green (61) and Matthew Wade (45*) starred with the bat and finished the match with 4 balls to spare.

With this, India became the only team that failed to defend 200 or more runs at home in more than one calendar year. They are also only the second team after South Africa (2016) among full members of the ICC that failed to defend a 200+ target more than once in T20Is in a year.

Earlier in the year, India failed to defend 211 against South Africa in the first match of the 5-match T20I series under the captaincy of Rishabh Pant. South Africa chased down the total with 5 balls to spare.

Hardik Pandya Finished Innings With Hat-trick Sixes

Indian vice-captain, KL Rahul batted aggressively after the early dismissals of Rohit Sharma (11), and Virat Kohli (2). All-rounder Hardik Pandya (71 not out off 30 balls) smashed a hat-trick of sixes in the last over to guide India to 208 runs.

Hardik Pandya (Image Credits: Getty Images)
Hardik Pandya (Image Credits: Getty Images)

Indian fielders dropped three catches and lost the match with poor death bowling as Australia chased down the target with four balls and four wickets to spare. Cameron Green, who opened the innings for the first time in international cricket, scored 61 runs in 30 balls with 8 fours and four sixes.

The all-rounder opened his innings with four straight boundaries off the bowling of Umesh, who played his first T20I in three years. Axar Patel (3/17) and Umesh (2/27) took three wickets in 14 balls to bring India back into the game.

Umesh, who came into the team as a last-minute replacement for Mohammed Shami, dismissed the dangerous Steve Smith (35) and Glenn Maxwell (1) in just four balls. Matthew Wade finished the chase with a quick-fire innings of 45 runs off 21 balls as Australia took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Matthew Wade and Tim David celebrate Australia's win (Image Credits: Getty Images)
Matthew Wade and Tim David celebrate Australia’s win (Image Credits: Getty Images)

“I don’t think we bowled well. 200 is a good score to defend, and we didn’t take our chances in the field. It was a great effort from our batters, but the bowlers were not quite there. There are things we need to look at, but it was a great game for us to understand what went wrong,” Rohit said.

India will now look to bounce back in the 2nd T20I against Australia in Nagpur on Friday.

Also read: T20 World Cup 2022: “Sanju Samson Could Be Better Option Over Rishabh Pant” – Danish Kaneria