BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Set-up by powerful batting from openers David Warner and Shane Watson, Australia romped to a comfortable 45-run victory over India in the Twenty20 World Cup yesterday.
Warner smote seven sixes and two fours in the top score of 72 from 42 balls, and Watson struck one four and six sixes in 54 from 32 balls in an opening stand of 104, as Australia posted 184 for five from their allocation of 20 overs in the third match of the Super Eights.
Shaun Tait then captured three wickets for 21 runs from 3.4 overs, and Dirk Nannes collected three for 25 from four overs, as Australia’s fast bowlers then exploited a hard, true Kensington Oval pitch to dismiss India for 135 in 17.4 overs.
Only two Indian batsmen reached double figure – Rohit Sharma struck four fours and six sixes in an unbeaten 79 from 46 balls, and Harbhajan Singh, batting at nine, made 13.
The match was over as a genuine contest, when India crashed to 50 for seven in the 11th over.
Nannes removed Murali Vijay, Gautam Gambhir, and Yuvraj Singh in a penetrative three-over opening spell.
In between, Shaun Tait had Suresh Raina caught at point for five, as India subsided to 23 for four in the fifth over.
Things got progressively worse for India, when their inspirational captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was caught on the long-on boundary off Steven Smith for two in the eighth over.
Mitchell Johnson then had Yusuf Pathan caught at deep cover in the ninth over, and Ravendra Jadeja was run out, when he failed to beat David Hussey’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end.
With the innings in turmoil, Sharma threw caution to the wind, and dominated the latter stages with some lusty hitting.
He added for the 47 for the eighth wicket with Harbhajan Singh, and put on 36 for the ninth wicket with Zaheer Khan, but there was to be no comeback story for India.
Earlier, Warner and Watson emerged from a sluggish start to give Australia control of the match early.
Watson signalled Australia’s intentions, when he struck Jadeja for three consecutive, leg-side sixes in his first over, and Warner escalated the carnage, when he hit the same bowler for three successive sixes when he returned for a second spell in the 10th over.
Warner reached his 50 from 33 balls, when he edged a delivery from Yusuf Pathan to third man for a single in the 11th over.
Watson reached his 50 from 33 balls, when he pulled the next ball from the same bowler over deep mid-wicket for his sixth six, but the rampage ended next ball, when Pathan bowled the Australian all-rounder. Australia continued to hunt quick runs, but no other batsman could scale the same heights as the two openers. Yuvraj Singh ended with two for 20 from two overs, and Ashish Nehra took two for 31 from four overs.
Australia face Sri Lanka in their next match tomorrow, when India meet West Indies.