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4th T20I: India beat Australia by 20 runs: Spinners star seal series

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Matthew Hayden called the fireworks in Raipur “like New Years’ Eve” but it was really the venue celebrating an unassailable 3-1 series lead for a young Indian side.

Hurricane knocks by Rinku Singh (46 off 29) and Jitesh Sharma (35 off 19) took India to 174/9 before the spinners came to the party in the most bowler-friendly pitch of the series so far as the hosts registered a comfortable 20-run victory over Australia. It marks a winning start for Suryakumar Yadav the captain who’s all set to lead India’s T20I side in South Africa next month.

Slight grip in the surface, big boundaries and little to no dew. The three factors came together for Axar Patel and Ravi Bishnoi, both of whom returned combined figures of 8-0-33-4. “We didn’t play spin very well,” was the succinct assessment from Australia captain Matthew Wade at the post-match presentation. The effort by the spinners was in stark contrast with the Australian counterparts, whose nine overs returned 2 for 76.

Three of the four wickets picked by the Indian spinners were by Axar and it included the big wicket of hard-hitting Travis Head, who was foxed by some nice drift away from him. Axar’s other two wickets were Aaron Hardie and Ben McDermott, both bowled. As far as Bishnoi was concerned, he was once again called to bowl in the PowerPlay and struck the first blow for India, this time with his first delivery of the match by going past Josh Philippe’s sweep.

India, asked to bat once again, were off to another good start, putting fifty runs on the board inside the PowerPlay thanks to Yashasvi Jaiswal’s intent and Ruturaj Gaikwad steadiness. But 50/0 soon became 63/3 when they lost Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav in the space of three balls. That’s when Rinku walked out to the crease and did his thing, this time a bit earlier than he’s used to. First, he added 48 runs for the fourth wicket with Ruturaj Gaikwad and then put together 56 runs for the fifth wicket with Jitesh Sharma, both partnerships ensuring that India weren’t too held back after losing their captain and vice-captain in quick time.

100 percent. A new situation but the same old Rinku. His knock came with some incredible shots as usual, one of the highlights being a switch-hit against Matthew Short. But there was also a massive six over long-on, when he charged and swiped at Ben Dwarshuis like you’d at a spinner.

Jitesh, who came in for Ishan Kishan and took the gloves, was at his intentful best in his first opportunity this series, hitting his fourth delivery for a six and taking heavy toll on the loose deliveries bowled by debutant Chris Green and Aaron Hardie. He got out to a full toss though, his wicket being first of the five wickets that India would lose in the space of nine balls. Rinku fell to a yorker from Jason Behrenorff but he and Jitesh had ensured that India had a fighting total on the board.

Australia needed 67 runs from the last five overs and the conditions for chasing weren’t as easy as the first three T20Is, but that said, Guwahati and what Glenn Maxwell did to India was always looming large. And of course Matthew Wade was still at the crease, needing no invitation to dispatch a no-ball from Mukesh Kumar from a six. It didn’t help that Matthew Short was dropped by Mukesh, a catch that was more keeper’s than him. But Deepak Chahar conceded only six runs in the 17th over along with picking the wicket of Matthew Short with a slower delivery, setting up the stage for Avesh Khan to come in and bowl two of the last three overs for 1/17.

Brief Scores: India 174/9 (Rinku 46; Dwarshuis 3-40) beat Australia 154/7 (Wade 36*; Axar 3-16) by 20 runs

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