India win warm-up match against Aussies

Wednesday 19th October 2022 07:09 EDT

The warm-up match against Australia was India’s chance to check where the team stands ahead of their T20 World Cup opener next Sunday. After KL Rahul (57 off 33 balls) in the opening slot and Suryakumar Yadav (50 off 33 balls) in the middle-order showed things are under control, spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (1-28) and R Ashwin (0-28) showed they can be useful on the big grounds in Australia.
But the Monday show was all about Shami. He wasn’t in the XI and came on to bowl the last over - a liberty that could be taken because it was not an official game. India had 11 runs to play around with and Pat Cummins and John Inglis were at the crease.
It was, in a way, a comeback by fire for Shami. After the last T20 World Cup in UAE, the general consensus was Shami bowls too one-paced and has lost his incisiveness in T20 cricket. Add to that his lack of game time - Shami was ruled out of the South Africa T20 series at home due to Covid - and it was always a matter of concern how the 33-year-old would shape up. But Shami, with his burst of pace and ability to bowl the yorkers, proved that India might not feel the absence of Bumrah too acutely after all.
After Cummins negotiated the first couple of full deliveries to get two twos, it was down to seven off the last four. Shami bowled a length ball in the third delivery which Cummins struck well, but it was brilliantly caught by Virat Kohli at long-on.
The fourth ball was a crucial one with Ashton Agar coming in. Shami brought all his experience into play to bowl a short one which the left-hander failed to connect. Agar was probably expecting a fuller ball and he failed to connect and was eventually run out at the non-striker’s end.
It was still seven off two and one big hit would have taken the match to Super Over. But Shami showed what his backers have been insisting all this while when he had been away from the team. A brilliant yorker removed Inglis and on the last ball, he got Kane Richardson with a similar delivery that wrapped up the six-run win, and a dream over by Shami where he got three wickets for four runs, in addition to a run-out.
It’s true that it was a practice game and the pressure wasn’t too high. Neither were the best finishers of Australia - Matthew Wade or Tim David - in the middle. Still, Shami didn’t need any warm-up to bowl exactly what is expected of him at a crucial stage of the match.
There’s another practice game against New Zealand on Wednesday where Shami can probably be allowed to complete his quota of overs so that he gets the necessary game time ahead of the big game against Pakistan on Sunday. Scores: Indians 186/7 (Rahul 57, Suryakumar 50, Richardson 4-30) beat Australians 180 (Finch 76, Marsh 35, Shami 3-4) by 6 runs.

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