| MoM Gautam Gambhir on Saturday
Mumbai: India proved their world title was no fluke as they comprehensively beat Australia by seven wickets in the one-off Twenty20 International at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday. The hosts reached the 166-run target in 18.1 overs.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni finished the match in style smashing Brett Lee for a huge six. Earlier, Australian captain Ricky Ponting top scored for the visitors with 76 off 53 balls.
The India captain said as much after the match. “We wanted to prove that the World Twenty20 win was no fluke.”
Man of the Match Gautam Gambhir laid the foundation for the chase with his 63 off 52 balls. The southpaw smacked six fours, stole two fives and hit one six.
After India lost opener Virender Sehwag in the third over, Gambhir and Robin Uthappa paced the innings immaculately with an aggressive second wicket partnership of 82 runs from 52 balls.
The pair hit Lee for three boundaries in the fifth over of the innings. The aggressive batting saw Australia make mistakes in the field. Gambhir stole a quick single, and the resultant overthrow from Michael Clarke reached the boundary, frustrating the Australians. Gambhir’s only six came in the next over off a ferocious hook.
Uthappa provided steady support to Gambhir, scoring 35 off 26 balls, with six hits to the fence. The righthander had a soft dismissal when he tried to nudge Clarke to the third man, and was caught behind.
Yuvraj Singh then joined Gambhir, and continued with his superb form. India needed 33 runs at six an over when Gambhir mistimed a lofted shot and was caught by Ponting off Ben Hilfenhaus. Enter Dhoni to a loud cheer from the packed stadium.
Yuvraj took the pressure off his captain by hitting two consecutive sixes off Stuart Clark over fine leg, and taking India closer to the target. Indian were a good 25 runs ahead of the Australians by the 17th over. Dhoni finished the proceedings with a smashing six off Lee, much to the delight of his guest, model-turned actress Deepika Padukone.
Gambhir rightfully drove a Maruti SX4 sedan for the Man of the Match award. Yuvraj picked the award for best fielder and most sixes (three) in the match. Harbhajan Singh won the best bowler’s award (1/17).
Australia began their innings with opener Gilchrist scoring boundaries at will in the first over. He struck three in as many minutes at the crease, but RP Singh cleverly yorked him on the last ball of the first over.
Opener Matthew Hayden smashed Sreesanth for the first six of the match in the next over, and followed another one off the Kerala pacer. At the other end, Ponting hit RP for two fours in his next over, and Australia raced to 50 in the fifth over.
When it looked like Australia runaway to a huge total, offie Harbhajan Singh brought India back into the game by claiming the dangerous Hayden in the seventh over. The Twenty20 World Cup’s highest scorer dragged one on to the stumps when he was 17.
The crowd started booing as Andrew Symonds walked into the ground. Ponting continued his strokeplay reaching his 50 in 33 balls. The duo kept the scoreboard ticking steadily with singles as Harbhajan and Murali Kartik bowled tidy spells. Symonds was run out on 20 after putting on 60 for the third wicket. Brad Hodge could not make much of the opportunity. Ponting smacked Sreesanth for two fours in his final over before dragging a Irfan Pathan delivery onto the stumps. Clarke scored a run-a-ball 25 including two fours to take the score to 166.