Kohli and Dhawan hammer Western Australia XI in warm-up T20 match, India win by 74 runs
The start to the Australian tour of 2016 was made in an emphatic fashion by Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan, as they pummeled the inexperienced Western Australia bowlers to all parts of the ground during India’s first practice match- a T20 game against the Western Australia XI at the WACA ground in Perth.
The only early in-road that the Australian bowlers could make was the run-out that accounted for Rohit Sharma in the third over, as after that it was all Kohli and Dhawan with drives, cuts, pulls and even ramp-shots on display, and it looked as if the Indians had been batting all day before they came out to bat on the field.
The visitors took a special liking to David Moody, who was taken for 40 runs from three overs, and also the spin duo of James Muirhead and Liam O’Connor. O’Connor, introduced in the 8th over, was taken for three fours, and while Muirhead bowled a quiet first over, he made up for it by going for a four and a six off his next, that also saw Dhawan complete his fifty.
There was a change of ends for O’Connor thereafter, but to no use, as Kohli smashed him for consecutive boundaries before the Delhi duo collected 24 runs off the 15th over with the Indian vice-captain going 4,4,6 to bring up his 50 and guide India to 136/1.
The first three balls of the 16th over were taken for 12, with a six and a four by the no. 2 ranked T20I batsman, before he edged a wide fourth delivery to the wicket-keeper thereby drawing curtains to his magnificent innings of 74 off just 44 balls, with 7 fours and 3 sixes.
Dhoni- the finisher
That brought the Indian captain, MS Dhoni to the crease who took off from where he had left in the Vijay Hazare Trophy semi-final, with a boundary and a maximum off his first two balls, the second hit of which was the characteristic Dhoni pull short.
Dhawan fell in the next over to Matthew Kelly, but not before he had made 74 off 46 with 8 fours and 3 sixes. The fall of wickets towards the end didn’t dip the run-rate though, as Dhoni kept the tempo up by hooking James Nicholas for another hit over the fence in the next over and before a misfield got India a boundary in the last over to take them to a more than competitive total of 192/4.
The skipper finished unbeaten on 22 off 14, while Ryan Duffield was the most successful bowler for WA XI with 1/21 from 4 overs.
Sran strikes, Jadeja, Patel capitalize
In reply, the youngest member of the Indian squad, Brainder Sran opened the bowling for India and impressed immediately by picking up two wickets in three overs, dismissing opener D’Arcy Short and William Bosisto inside the 5th over.
The home side’s most experienced batsman, Travis Birt, then tried to counter attack, picking up two boundaries in the sixth over off Rishi Dhawan, as WA finished their powerplay at 39/2.
Spin was introduced thereafter, a move that tightened India’s grip on the match, as a young Josh Inglis wasn’t able to answer the questions asked by Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, as he unsuccessfully tried ramp-shots and reverse sweeps, before hitting a straight Jadeja delivery straight down the throat of Sran, as at the halfway stage WA reached 62/3.
The Saurashtra all-rounder wasn’t done there as he got Nick Hobson stumped by Dhoni taking full advantage of the pressure built up by Ashwin with some tight bowling at the other end. The stranglehold didn’t end there either, as Dhoni brought Axar Patel on in the 15th over and he immediately rewarded his skipper with the wicket of Jaron Morgan and Matthew Kelly in consecutive overs.
The game was already done by then as despite Birt’s valiant unbeaten 74, his side could only manage 118/6 from 20 overs.
Positives for India
There were many key takeaways for India from this game, but perhaps the most vital one was that of Brainder Sran, who in his first appearance for the national side, took 2 wickets and a catch, to finish with figures of 2/24 from 4 overs.
The spinners were evergreen as ever, with Jadeja and Patel returning with identical figures of 2/13 from their 3 overs, while Ashwin bowled economically, despite going wicketless.
The form shown by Kohli and Dhawan should bring loads of confidence to the Indian camp, who would play an ODI practice game against the same side on January 9, before kicking off their ODI series against the senior side on January 12, all at the WACA.