India beat Australia in their own backyard spectacularly to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three match T20I series. The top order batting shined in the 27-run win, with Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli powering India to 184/3 after Aussie captain Aaron Finch won the toss and asked India to bat.
Virat Kohli, in a gem of a form, again played a superb knock, hitting 59 runs off 33 balls. The India Test captain was adjudged the Man of the Match a second time running in the series.
Australia in reply, started out strong, with opener and captain Aaron Finch hitting 74 runs off 48 balls before getting run out. The spinners did their job well again as Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Yuvraj Singh slowed down the Aussies and picked up crucial wickets.
Cricket expert Ayaz Memon, in conversation with Firstpost's Manas Mitul, analysed India's performance in the second T20I and gave his words on the series win.
"It was a terrific all-round performance, of course the spinners played a crucial part," Ayaz said of the second T20I against Australia in Melbourne.
"It's a brilliant comeback. If you've lost the ODI series your shoulders can drop and you go around like zombies. But that didn't happen. I think the spirit never left, that's the good part. They came back and won the fifth ODI. That's the sign of a team with optimism. After they won the last ODI, they took that momentum forward into the T20s," Ayaz said after India clinched the three-match T20I series with a game to spare.
The cricket expert heaped praise on the India batting line-up as well.
"India won today because of the way Rohit and Dhawan batted initially and then Virat Kohli came in. He is terrific form. Don't forget Dhoni, he played a crucial innings as well... The top order is phenomenal, the way they are going, not even losing 6-7 wickets. We haven't seen Yuvraj and Hardik Pandya bat this series!"
"You might see a 3-0 sweep, and that will be something," Ayaz added.
Ayaz also praised MS Dhoni's captaincy on the day, praising him for mixing around his bowlers. "Dhoni's joker in the pack was Yuvraj Singh. He bowled two really good overs and got the all important wicket of Maxwell," he said.
Yuvraj shine with the ball, but yet again he didn't get a chance to bat, with the top order taking care of the runs department. Ayaz, however, saw no point in sending the crowd favourite ahead of Dhoni to bat. "If you send him after Rohit is run out, it puts pressure on him. In T20 there is very little time to do anything but hit. Look at it this way: he goes out, he tries to hit and he gets out, then everyone will say he has flopped, he couldn't hit a ball. The batting order is fairly settled," Ayaz said.
Ayaz also lauded the fielding effort, despite a few slip-ups from the men in blue. Aaron Finch was dropped by the Dhawans, both the newcomer Rishi and the veteran Shikhar in Ashwin's over, while Dhoni missed an easy stumping chance as well. But India recovered and found their rhythm on the field and redeemed itself just in time. Dhoni managed a brilliant stumping of Maxwell and Jadeja ran out danger man Aaron Finch. The all-rounder also plucked a blinder of a return catch of Shane Watson, tilting the game in India's favour.
"Fielding was always going to make the key difference. We had a few slip-ups and lapses, but then Jadeja's catch and Dhoni's stumping was sensational. And when you have two such dismissals, the game transforms quickly. The pace of a T20 match is so swift that a couple of wickets and the trend of the game changes." Ayaz said.
Ayaz also singled out Ravindra Jadeja for praise. "The T20 format fits him," he said of Jadeja's impressive performance with the ball and on the field.
It was a good day out for India Down Under. Both the men's and the women's team won T20I series against the hosts and India tennis star Sania Mirza won the women's double final alongside Martina Hingis at the Australian Open in Melbourne Park.
India and Australia will play the third and final T20I of the series in Sydney on Sunday.
Firstpost's Game plan with Ayaz Memon will be streamed live on Periscope and on Firstpost website at the end of each T20I match in the series Down Under. Follow @FirstpostSports on Twitter for more details.
Match report: India beat Australia in second T20I to seal series
Melbourne: India dominated with both bat and ball to beat Australia by 27 runs in the second Twenty20 International at the Melbourne Cricket Ground here on Friday.
India rode on half-centuries from Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to post 184/3 in their 20 overs. In reply, the Australians could only manage 157/8 despite being given a superb start by Aaron Finch.
The Indians have thus clinched the three-match series with an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (2/32) and young pacer Jasprit Bumrah (2/37) were the most successful among the Indian bowlers. Yuvraj Singh (1/7), Hardik Pandya (1/17) and Ravichandran Ashwin (1/27) also bagged a wicket each.
Chasing a challenging target, the hosts were off to a flying start with Finch going great guns. The Australian captain smashed 74 runs off 48 deliveries with eight boundaries and a couple of sixes. Shaun Marsh was going steady at the other end, scoring a run-a-ball 23.
The Australians were cruising comfortably along at 10 runs an over, but the fall of Marsh's wicket in the 10th triggered a collapse.
Chris Lynn (2) and the dangerous Glenn Maxwell (1) were sent back by Hardik Pandya and Yuvraj Singh respectively as the Australians lost three wickets in as many overs which pegged back their momentum.
Finch and Shane Watson tried to re-build the innings, but Ravindra Jadeja sent back Watson in the 15th over with a stunning return catch off his own bowling.
Finch, who was struggling with a cramped hamstring, was run out in the next over as the Indians tightened their grip on the match.
Earlier, put in to bat by the hosts, India were provided a steady start by Rohit and Dhawan. The duo were a bit cautious in the first three overs before going after the Australian bowlers.
Rohit continued his superb form during the ongoing tour, scoring 60 runs off 47 balls with five boundaries and a six. He added 97 runs for the opening partnership along with Shikhar Dhawan (42).
Kohli walked in at the fall of Dhawan's wicket and proceeded to build on the solid foundation provided by the openers by belting 59 runs in his 33-ball innings which included seven boundaries and a six.
Dhawan was also in excellent form, hitting three fours and two sixes during his 32-ball stay in the middle. He missed out on his maiden half-century in T20Is when a reverse sweep off Glenn Maxwell found Lynn at point.
For Australia, Maxwell had figures of 1/17 while debutant medium-pacer Andrew Tye captured the prized wicket of India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to return 1/28 in his four overs.
Rohit and Dhawan reserved special treatment for James Faulkner. Rohit hit the left-arm pacer for three boundaries in his very first over after replacing Shane Watson in the Australian attack. Dhawan then smashed a four and a six off consecutive balls in his very next over.
Dhawan's departure did not affect the run rate as Kohli and Rohit continued to find the gaps at regular intervals. However, an unfortunate bit of mis-communication saw Rohit being run out while attempting to go for a second run.
Dhoni then gave Kohli good support from the other end with 14 runs off nine balls as the Delhi batsman signed off the Indian innings on a strong note.