India’s record against Australia in ICC World T20 events has always been better compared to the other major championships organized by the governing body. On 30th March 2014 at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka there was no exception to this trend as Australia capitulated meekly to India losing by a whopping margin, in the T20 context, of 73 runs.
Team composition: Both the teams were in different stages of progress in the championship. India had already secured its place in the semis and Australia is already out of the tournament. So, both the teams made several changes. India brought in Rahane for the out of form Shikhar Dhawan and Mohit Sharma for Shami, who was clearly in need of some rest following his continued exertions in the last couple of months since his debut. Australia chose to bring in Cameron White for James Faulkner in this match. It probably wanted to strengthen its batting so as to make sure it could preferably bat later and get its runs in quick time so as to improve the net run rate and be in a position to progress to the semis.
Batting: In this match Australia won the toss and opted to bat later, perhaps in an effort to upset India’s applecart. To start with they were successful by picking up 4 wickets for 66 runs by the 12th over. However, Yuvraj Singh once again showed why Dhoni had been persisting with him in spite of repeated failures and repaid his captain’s faith with a 60 from 43. It was basically his innings that helped India to get to 159 in the allotted 20 overs. In reply to this total, the Aussies never really got going and in spite of someone like Haddin coming in at number 8 they folded up for just 86 and could not even bat out their overs.
Bowling: In the Indian innings every Australian bowler – 6 were used – picked up a wicket each. Maxwell was the best bowler on view with 1 for 20 from 4 overs but the failure of Starc, Watson and Muirhead to choke the runs meant that they were always chasing leather in the second innings. In comparison Indian spinners fully exploited the slow and low pitch with Ashwin picking up 4 for 11 from his 3.2 overs to justify his standing as the team’s leading spinner. Jadeja and Mishra also bowled well.
Where do the teams go from here?
With regards to India, Dhoni will be secure in the knowledge that his team now has the chance to add to its glittering array of silverware. The conditions are in their favor and the bowlers, who are traditionally India’s weak link, are exploiting them well. As far as Australia is concerned the road ahead is steep indeed. As of now one feels that the leadership needs to change – someone like Watson needs to be given the responsibility of helming the team. Perhaps the team also needs the infusion of someone like Steven Smith, Moises Henriques and Phil Hughes. The bowling line up can also be rearranged with the likes of James Pattinson, Pat Cummins and Ben Cutting in addition to Mitchell Starc and Nathan Coulter-Nile. The team should also look to play to its strength instead of trying to adapt to conditions. It is hard to say what works for sure in T20 but the team should have faith in itself. That is going to be its biggest weapon in the days going ahead.