Bangalore, February 1: India succumbed to crushing nine-wicket defeat in the Twenty20 tie against Australia at MCG, Melbourne on Friday. World champions, oting to bat first, were dismissed for a woeful 74 in 17.3 overs in reply Australia chased down the required target in 12 overs losing the lone wicket of Gilly (25) in the process
India had everyone on their side. And the absence of Ricky Ponting added to their relief. Australia with their stand-in captain Michael Clarke breathed fire right from the word go. The most touted batsman, who incidentally got his form back in Adelaide, Virender Sehwag was in a real hurry, and Clarke made no mistake in uprooting his stump from the point. Clarke's fabulous throw saw Sehwag walking back without even waiting for the umpire.
Their best in-form batsman, who flew in from Delhi after a terrific domestic success, Gautam Gambhir fell for a slow delivery from Nathan Bracken. India lost their four top-order batsman in first four overs. Indian batsmen were too eager to show their aggression too quickly and the Australians exploited the situation to the hilt. Their fielding was spectacular.
Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni were expected to run through the Aussie bowlers. Instead their slam-bang attitude gave away the match. But the Twenty20 heroes meekly surrendered to the superb performance of Aussies.
Each run was a mammoth task for Indians. Wickets fell like nine pins and the crowd went silent. Only Irfan Pathan (26) showed some resistance and gave some hope. He batted with ease and played some sensible cricket. Almost, every Australian bowler reveled. But the Australians wanted more. They wanted to bundle India under 73 runs. Kenya holds the record for of the lowest total of 73 runs in Twenty20 cricket. India got all out for 74 runs in 17.3 overs. Half of the battle was already won.
The Australians started the chase in their orthodox style. Gilchrist playing his last Twenty20 before retirement showed no mercy and simply ran through the Indian pacers. He was in no mood to retire easily; the stadium roared again for Gilly. Michael Clarke displayed his sublime skills and proved that he can step in the shoes of Ricky Ponting easily. He was named the Man of the Match.
Praveen Kumar brought some cheer to the Indian camp when he claimed Gilchrist (26) in the 8th over. But it was too late for India to make a comeback. They needed just 17 runs more. Michael Clarke and Brad Hodge ensured that they walked back happily.
Indian fielding was shoddy. The bowlers too lacked fire. Nothing went India's way. The Aussies ensured they wrapped up the match in 11.2 over and expediting the celebrations.