Rohit Sharma’s half-century helped India beat Australia by eight wickets in their second practice match of the ICC T20 World Cup on Wednesday to register their second consecutive win. India, who defeated England in the first practice match, chased down Australia’s target of 153 runs, before being retired out of Rohit Sharma’s 41-ball 60 with the help of five fours and three sixes, besides Lokesh Rahul (39) With the help of his first wicket partnership of 68 and second wicket partnership of 59 runs with Suryakumar Yadav (38 not out), he scored 153 runs for two wickets in 17.5 overs. Australia scored 152 for five thanks to the innings of Steve Smith (57), Marcus Stoinis (41 not out) and Glenn Maxwell (37).
Smith shared 61 runs for the fourth wicket with Maxwell and 76 runs for the fifth wicket with Stoinis. Smith hit seven fours in his innings of 48 while Stoinis faced 25 balls and hit four fours and a six. India will now take on Pakistan in their first match of the T20 World Cup Super 12 on Sunday. Rahul and Rohit got India off to a good start chasing the target. Rahul welcomed Ashton Agar with a six after hitting Mitchell Starc for a four. Rohit also hit three fours in two overs of Pat Cummins. India scored 42 runs in the powerplay without losing a wicket. Rahul took the team’s score beyond 50 runs in the seventh over with two sixes on leg-spinner Adam Zampa. However, Rahul, trying to play a big shot on Agar, waved the ball in the air and David Warner did not make any mistake in taking the catch.
Rahul faced 31 balls and hit three sixes and two fours. Suryakumar Yadav opened the account with a four on Agar and then saw Marsh’s ball also for the boundary. Rohit also hit sixes on Marsh and Glenn Maxwell as India completed a century in the 13th over. Rohit completed his half-century in 36 balls with a four on Stoinis. Both Rohit and Suryakumar hit sixes on Cummins in the 15th over. India needed 26 runs to win in the last five overs. Rohit went back after being retired out at the same time, but Suryakumar and Hardik Pandya (14 not out) easily took India to the target.
Earlier, Australia won the toss and decided to bat first but the team got off to a poor start and lost three wickets for 11 runs. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin sent in-form David Warner (01) and Mitchell Marsh (00) to the pavilion in successive deliveries in the second over. After Ashwin lbw Warner, Marsh was caught at first slip by Rohit Sharma, who was playing the role of captaincy. Captain Aaron Finch (08) hit a four on Bhuvneshwar Kumar but Ravindra Jadeja made him lbw. Smith and Maxwell then carried on the innings. Both took the team’s score to 34 for three in the powerplay. Maxwell started with two consecutive fours on Jadeja while Smith also hit boundaries on the left-arm spinner as well as leg-spinner Rahul Chahar.
India’s regular captain Virat Kohli also bowled two overs in the meantime. Australia’s half-century was completed in the 10th over. Chahar bowled Maxwell to end his 61-run partnership with Smith. Stoinis hit four boundaries on Kohli and Varun Chakraborty. Australia’s century of runs was completed in the 15th over. Smith hit three consecutive fours on Shardul Thakur in the 17th over and then completed his half-century in 41 balls with two runs. Stoinis took the lead in the 19th over and hit a four and a six off Chakraborty’s successive deliveries. In the final over, Bhuvneshwar got Smith caught by Rohit. Thanks to the innings of Smith and Stoinis, Australia were able to add 50 runs in the last four overs. For India, Ashwin took two wickets for eight runs, while Bhuvneshwar, Jadeja and Chahar took one wicket each.