India started their campaign in the 2022 T20 World Cup on a bright note, scoring a pair of wins in Australia.
Having qualified as one of the top 8 teams in last year’s edition, India is in the Super 12 phase in Group 1, with Rahul Dravid’s side seeking their second title in this tournament, having won the inaugural competition 15 years ago.
INDIA SETS CALENDAR YEAR RECORD, BEATS PAKISTAN IN A WILD CHASE AT THE G
Right off the bat, India began their T20 World Cup by taking on Pakistan at the fabled Melbourne Cricket Ground last October 23.
A crowd of 90,293 trooped to the G in this match, which set the highest attendance for a cricket tie not involving this year’s T20 World Cup hosts. It broke the previous mark three decades ago when Pakistan lifted the World Cup.
And those who had the golden tickets have their money’s worth, as both teams took part in a slugfest between their top order in which the Men in Blue beat the Falcons by four wickets, with the final over capping off their chase of the latter’s 159/8.
Virat Kohli had an unbeaten 82 (with six fours and four sixes) to dispatch their rivals, as he survived the fall of their first four wickets for 31 as he and Hardik Pandya took on a golden partnership that saw them just 15 behind before the latter was caught and bowled in the first ball of the final over.
There was drama in the final two deliveries as Dinesh Karthik was stumped off the pads, but Ravichandran Ashwin scored two huge runs that India needed to score a classic thriller.
Pakistan’s innings were carried by Shan Masood’s 52 not out as they bucked the Golden Duck on their captain Babar Azam.
That win was India’s 39th in the calendar year in all formats, breaking their tie with Australia in which they leveled the scores eight days ago with an ODI series clincher at home over South Africa.
INDIA SCORES STRAIGHTFORWARD DEFEAT OF THE DUTCH
Four days after a cricket classic at the G, India then defeated the Netherlands in a one-way traffic in Sydney.
Kohli continued his form as he hit 62 not out as India batted first in their innings, only using four batsmen to defeat the Dutch by 56 runs.
The World Cup winner was helped by Suryakumar Yadav who had played his best in this competition with an unbeaten 51 off 25 deliveries.
Captain Rohit Sharma capped off a trio of half-centuries with a 53 of his own off 39 deliveries including a troika of sixes.
The Dutch were led by Tim Pringle’s 20 but the early wickets caused them to lose the chase as early as in the 18th over, thanks to a pair of wickets by Arshdeep Singh made them stuck at 101/9.
Singh was not the only Indian bowler who had a brace of wickets, as Ashwin, Axar Patel and Bhuvneshwar Kumar also had gotten two wickets in the match.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR INDIA?
With a 2-0 record, India has their destiny on their own hands to make it to the knockout phase.
However, their next matches are not pushovers: all of their future opponents in the Super 12 are fellow test members, starting with South Africa on Perth on October 30, followed by Bangladesh in Adelaide on November 2, and a return to the MCG against Zimbabwe on November 6.