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You are here: Cricket T20 Internationals The return of the Prince: Yuvraj powers India to 6 wicket win

The return of the Prince: Yuvraj powers India to 6 wicket win

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A fantastic unbeaten innings of 77 from just 35 balls by cancer survivor Yuvraj Singh powered India to a hard earned 6 wicket win against a competitive Australian outfit at Rajkot. Yuvraj dominated a century stand for the 5th wicket with Skipper MS Dhoni (24 from 21 balls) to carry India past the finish line with 2 balls to spare chasing a very competitive total of 201-7 made by the Aussies batting first. Aaron Finch (89) and Nic Maddinson (34) gave the visitors an excellent start, but India pulled things back a bit in the last 4 overs, conceding just 28 runs and won the game quite comfortably in the end despite the match going down to the final over.

All the attention in the cricketing world hovered around Sachin Tendulkar's earth shattering announcement earlier today, but there was still the small matter of a touring Australian team to handle before the serious business of Tendulkar's 200th Test match against a visiting West Indies side could be addressed.

Australia's Tour of India kicked off in Rajkot with the sole T20 international. Despite a brief shower at 5:30pm, the match started on time and was expected to be free of interruptions.

The news at the toss was that India had won it and asked Australia to make first use of the pitch. The decision suited India's bowling setup with three seamers in the Indian line-up with R Vinay Kumar getting the nod ahead of leg spinner Amit Mishra. The Indian batting line-up was on expected lines with Yuvraj Singh making his widely expected return to the playing eleven.

Australia meanwhile handed a debut to Nic Maddinson, who was expected to open the batting with Aaron Finch. That meant there was no place in the playing eleven for Adam Voges. Mitchell Johnson was the frontline seamer to miss out with the highly successful IPL duo of James Faulkner and Nathan Coulter-Nile getting the nod.

India started rather poorly with the ball, bowling way too short, and when they looked to pitch the ball up, they invariably over compensated. Nic Maddinson on debut was absolutely breathtaking with his stroke play, getting off the mark with a bludgeoning straight drive off Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

The runs flowed freely in the powerplay with India conceding a massive 74 for the wicket of Maddinson, who fell for a 16-ball effort worth 34. At the other end Aaron Finch was at his big hitting best, powering his side forward with an aggressive 89 from just 52 balls. Shane Watson (6) and George Bailey (0) fell in one Vinay Kumar over as the Karnataka seamer in conjunction with Ravindra Jadeja (1-23) pulled things back considerably after the field spread.

Australia for a long while looked that they would post at least 240, but India did well to limit their visitors to 201 in their 20 overs, largely by picking up crucial wickets. Glenn Maxwell chipped in with a breezy 27 from 13 balls but was well caught on the boundary by Ishant Sharma off Jadeja. Both the Kumars - Vinay and Bhuvaneshwar - took 3 wickets to keep the Aussie total within a reasonable range.

India's response was a slow one in sharp contrast to the Aussies, with the visiting seamers getting a little more movement off the pitch by bowling the ball in good areas. Clint McKay had Rohit Sharma caught behind for 8 shortly after he deposited the Aussie bowler in the stands. Suresh Raina (19) and Shikhar Dhawan (32) saw out the initial period while also putting some runs on the board as India finished the powerplay at 53-2.

Dhawan was out stumped off Doherty in his first over, with poor shot selection his undoing. The stage was perfectly set for the comeback man Yuvraj Singh to walk into the middle and win the game for India.

Yuvi added 20 with Virat Kohli, who made a bustling 29 from 22 balls before getting undone by Clint McKay. Yuvraj was joined by skipper MS Dhoni with the scored at 100-4, with the hosts needing a little over 100 runs from 9 overs to win.

Yuvraj had played himself in while he had Kohli for company, and that allowed him to explode when Dhoni walked in. Dhoni played the perfect partner, taking singles at the other end to ensure that the left-hander was seldom away from the strike.

A fitter, leaner and meaner Yuvraj meanwhile was teasing the boundary riders by plonking the ball just a few arm lengths over their heads. Five 6s and eight 4s earmarked a trademark effort as India powered to a 6 wicket win with 2 balls to spare.

Unfortunately the T20 series is over, and the action now shifts to the longer ODI format as 7 matches await, the first of which will take place in three days time.

Teams:

Australia: Aaron Finch, Nic Maddinson, Shane Watson, George Bailey (c), Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty

India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, R Vinay Kumar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma

Mini Scorecard:

Australia 201-7 (20 overs, 10.05rpo)

A Finch 89 (52) V Kumar 3-26

N Maddinson 34 (16) B Kumar 3-35

India 202-4 (19.4 overs, 10.27rpo)

Y Singh 77* (35) C McKay 2-50

S Dhawan 32 (19) X Doherty 1-24

India win by 6 wickets with 2 balls to spare