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Second T20I: India’s top order sets up comfortable win in Thiruvananthapuram

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India’s top three fired in unison as the hosts beat Australia again in the T20I series to take a 2-0 lead in Trivandrum. Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan hit contrasting fifties to power India to a mammoth 235/4 before the bowlers completed a 44-run win.

More often than not, the powerplay sets the tone in a T20 game and India’s performance with both bat and ball in this phase put them in command. Yashasvi Jaiswal went berserk after India were asked to bat first. After getting to 12 off 12 after three overs, Jaiswal unleashed fury on Sean Abbott to rip him apart for 4,4,4,6,6 in one over. He also smashed Nathan Ellis for three successive fours in the final over of the powerplay to stun the visitors. But his entertaining cameo came to an end in the same over. However, his 25-ball 53 put India in a great position from which they could dominate.

Not quite. At least for a brief period, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan couldn’t score at a brisk pace like Jaiswal did. Having scored 77 in the powerplay, India added only 29 off the next five overs despite not losing a wicket. Ishan in particular found the going tough before a six off Marcus Stoinis helped him break the shackles. The left-hander then took on Glenn Maxwell and followed it up with two sixes off Tanveer Sangha to script a commendable turnaround as he brought up his fifty off just 29 balls.

Like Jaiswal, Ishan too perished immediately after bringing up his second consecutive fifty of the series. Suryakumar Yadav then thrilled the crowd by bringing out his trademark flick over fine leg to smash a six first ball and followed it up with another six off Adam Zampa. While he didn’t entertain beyond that, Gaikwad brought up a fifty at the other end and Rinku Singh took over from where he had left the other night in Vizag. Abbott, who had already taken a beating, was carted around mercilessly again as Rinku tonked two sixes and three fours before Ellis conceded 20 in the final over as India hammered 45 in the final two to post a daunting score.

While the hosts took off with the bat in the powerplay only after the first two overs, it took them two overs again to take charge with the ball. Australia were off to a flier as Matthew Short and Steve Smith targetted Prasidh Krishna for 20 in his opening over. But the move to bring Ravi Bishnoi immediately into the attack paid off as his googly sent Short packing. A terrific catch from Tilak Varma saw Josh Inglis, centurion from the last game, depart cheaply this time before Axar Patel rounded off the powerplay in India’s favour with the big wicket of Maxwell.

The poor start meant they had to play catch up. The wicket of Smith reduced them to 58/4 but ended up aiding their cause for a brief period. Stoinis came in with intent and started off with a four before smashing back-to-back sixes off Bishnoi straight over his head. The chase was well and truly revived when Tim David followed that with a hat-trick of boundaries off Mukesh Kumar before making the most of a free-hit by fetching a six that took Australia’s run rate beyond 10. The carnage continued as three more sixes were fetched in the space of five deliveries. From the final eight overs, Australia needed 105 runs with not only momentum on their side but dew as well.

However, in what turned out to be an anti-climax, all it took was one wicket from Bishnoi in his final over to pull India back into the game. A miscue from David saw him depart for 37 and the well-set Stoinis followed him to the pavilion in the very next over. With the two dangerous batters gone, India were all over the visitors and picked wickets regularly to kill off any little hopes for good. Matthew Wade’s lusty blows at the death could only reduce the margin of defeat.

Brief scores: India 235/4 in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 58, Yashasvi Jaiswal 53, Ishan Kishan 52) beat Australia 191/9 in 20 overs (Marcus Stoinis 45; Ravi Bishnoi 3/32) by 44 runs

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