India vs Australia 2017, 1st T20I: Kuldeep Yadav outfoxing Aaron Finch is SK Turning Point of the match
Left-arm wrist-spinner does the star turn for India in the opening T20I at Ranchi.
The value of a wrist-spinner can never be understated in the limited-overs formats. In an era of flat tracks and shortened boundaries, a bowling attack has to possess an exotic element to clinch white-ball matches. During the first T20I between India and Australia at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi, Kuldeep Yadav demonstrated yet another example of the wicket-taking threat that those of his ilk provide on a regular basis.
When the visitors were motoring on a dicey track and consequently threatened to amass a formidable total, the chinaman exponent turned the game around by dismissing the well-set Aaron Finch. By castling the powerful opening batsman, Kuldeep managed to spark a major collapse in the Australian innings and paved the way for India to cruise to a comfortable victory in the opening match.
Watch Aaron Finch's rapid 42 and dismissal here
Here's how India capitalised on Finch's wicket and gained control of the proceedings.
Finch blitz propels Australia
With Indian captain Virat Kohli securing an early advantage for his team by winning a vital toss on a gloomy night poised to get hit by substantial rain, Australia's woes were exacerbated when Bhuvneshwar Kumar coerced stand-in-skipper, David Warner, to chop one on to his stumps in the very first over of the game.
The visitors made a bold move by promoting Glenn Maxwell to number three. Even as the mercurial all-rounder struggled to get going, Finch was blazing away at the other end. Latching on to anything remotely short, the robust opener propelled Australia to a strong start and began to apply pressure on the Indians.
Finch targeted Hardik Pandya and plundered three boundaries from the seamer's first spell. While the introduction of spin aggravated Maxwell's agony, he appeared to be at ease against the turning ball. The right-hander pounced on a nicely flighted delivery from Yuzvendra Chahal and deposited the leg-spinner into the deep mid-wicket stand.
Kuldeep does the trick for India
With Australia surging to 72/2 at the end of nine overs, India needed to see the back of Finch in order to restrict the batting charge. Kuldeep began his spell by tempting the opener with his alluring loop. But the Victorian was up to it and resisted the urge to go big. As a result, only five runs were scored off the over.
During his second over, Kuldeep provided the most decisive moment in the match. After setting the batsman up by varying his pace and length, the left-arm wrist-spinner unfurled a delivery so full that it could be construed as a yorker. Finch was in two minds; whether to respond with a sweep or play it through the 'V'. However, he did neither and consequently failed to read the trajectory of the ball.
Having induced a slight moment of hesitancy in the batsman's thought-process, the chinaman bowler gained his reward as the ball smashed into the stumps. Finch had to depart for a well-made 30-ball 42 comprising four boundaries and a huge six.
Visitors limp to a paltry total
Following Finch's exit, the Australian batting lineup lost the plot completely. Moises Henriques, Travis Head and Tim Paine faded away without making any significant impact to the team's cause. Kuldeep nabbed his second wicket by accounting for the ungainly left-hander.
A combination of brilliant death bowling and sparkling effort in the field helped India restrict the visitors to a below-par total of 118 for the loss of 8 wickets. While Jasprit Bumrah nailed one yorker after another, skipper Kohli led from the front and contributed a vital run-out in the end overs.
Persistent rain revised the target to 48 runs from just six overs. Although the hosts endured an early wobble when Rohit Sharma was dismissed, Kohli joined hands with Shikhar Dhawan to ease their nerves, propelling India to a clinical 9-wicket triumph.