India produced an impressive comeback to beat Australia by 11 runs in Canberra to take a 1-0 series lead.
It was a T20I debut to remember for T Natarajan as his impressive 3/30, along with a sublime spell from Yuzvendra Chahal (3/25), powered India to victory in the first T20I.
Chasing 162, Australia openers Aaron Finch and D'Arcy Short batted with grit from the start, milking 14 runs off the first over. Finch struggled against Washington Sundar in the next over, which included five dot balls, but he quickly settled and continued the run-fest with Short to post 53/0 in the Powerplay.
🙈 Manish Pandey drops Aaron Finch and then Virat Kohli drops D'Arcy Short the very next ball!— ICC (@ICC) December 4, 2020
How crucial could those mistakes be?#AUSvIND SCORECARD ▶️ https://t.co/FpDYCXHojX pic.twitter.com/YyAGto5Qm1
Both openers were dropped in the seventh over, with Manish Pandey dropping the Australia skipper on 33 before Virat Kohli put down what should have been a straightforward catch off Short the next ball.
What followed was a dramatic turn of events, as Finch's luck ran out shortly after when Hardik Pandya took a screamer off the bowling of Chahal, who came in as a concussion substitute for Ravindra Jadeja after the all-rounder was hit on the helmet while batting towards the end of India's innings.
UPDATE: Ravindra Jadeja was hit on the helmet in the final over of the first innings of the first T20I.— BCCI (@BCCI) December 4, 2020
Yuzvendra Chahal will take the field in the 2nd innings as a concussion substitute. Jadeja is currently being assessed by the BCCI Medical Team. #TeamIndia #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/tdzZrHpA1H
Chahal turned out to be a valuable substitute as his removed Steve Smith for 12 thanks to a good diving catch by Sanju Samson. Natarajan then struck in his second over, trapping Maxwell in front early on for just two.
Short joined forces with Moises Henriques and the duo got Australia back on track. In Natarajan's next over, Henriques picked up five runs off one ball as Pandey's attempt to hit the stumps wasn't collected by Samson backing up in the deep, and the ball raced away to the boundary, but the debutant struck back to finally remove Short as the opener holed out to long-on for 34.
Australia's chase was dealt a huge blow when they lost Henriques, trapped LBW by Deepak Chahar. The all-rounder walked back to the hut after contributing a 20-ball 30, and despite a couple of late blows from Sean Abbott and Mitchell Swepson, the hosts could only muster 150/7.
Earlier, sent in to bat, India got off to a shaky start as Mitchell Starc produced a superb in-swinging yorker to rattle Shikhar Dhawan's off stump.
KL Rahul and Kohli (nine) then stitched together an important partnership, lifting India to 42/1 in the Powerplay. However, the following over, leg-spinner Swepson snared the prize scalp of the India skipper, his first wicket on home soil, with a brilliant catch off his own bowling.
Samson, the No.4, looked promising from the start, smashing 23 from just 15 balls before becoming Henriques' first victim. Wickets kept falling as India slipped from 86/3 to 114/6.
The dangerous Hardik Pandya becomes Moises Henriques' third wicket for the night!— ICC (@ICC) December 4, 2020
The Australia all-rounder finishes with 3/22 – a fine performance 🔥
FOLLOW #AUSvIND 👉 https://t.co/FpDYCXHojX pic.twitter.com/4DopUHbuZJ
Henriques added two more wickets to his tally, accounting for Pandya (16) and Rahul (51 from 41), finishing with impressive figures of 3/22.
It was Ravindra Jadeja who provided India with late impetus as his blazing 23-ball 44 not out helped his side post 161/7, which proved to be just enough for the touring side.
The two teams will meet again at the Sydney Cricket Ground for the second T20I on Sunday, 6 December.