As India and Australia prepare for the T20 International series, Nishad Pai Vaidya picks the five most memorable moments from contests between the two sides in the shortest format.
Yuvraj Singh smashes 70 off 30 balls in ICC World T20 semi-final – Durban, 2007
As discussed in a previous article on The Ring Side View, the ICC World T20 2007 semi-final was a landmark encounter between the two sides for it shaped the rivalry between them in the years ahead. A youthful unit successfully overcame the might of the Aussies, who were the reigning world champions in the two other formats. Yuvraj Singh was the catalyst of India’s change in their fight against the formidable unit. A few days after he smashes six sixes off a Stuart Broad over, Yuvraj hit the Aussies all over to cart 70 off only 30 balls. The most memorable shot was an effortless flick off Brett Lee over square-leg which went many a mile. That innings laid the foundation of the Indian win and in hindsight, one can safely say, changed history.
Australia set a Test match field in a T20 game – Melbourne, 2008
There was a lot of hype and hoopla as India geared up to play Australia for their first T20 International Down Under. India had won their two previous encounters and the stage was set for an exciting encounter. However, the cricket on the day was anything but exciting as India were bowled out for a paltry 74 in front of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. As Australia strangled India and the visitors were heading towards a close. When Adam Voges bowled the 16th over and reduced India to 63 for nine, skipper Michael Clarke had all his fielders around Ishant Sharma, the last man. That picture has gone on to become quite popular thereafter.
David Warner’s reverse-hit over long-off fetches six – Sydney, 2012
David Warner made a name for himself through T20 cricket, but in 2011-12, he was beginning to show the makings of a good batsman for both the longer formats. That confidence seemed to have rubbed off on the shortest format as well. As India faced Australia in the first T20 International of the tour at the Stadium Australia in Sydney, Warner gave an example of T20 cricket’s great audacity. There have been reverse-hits in the past, but this one stood out. Warner changed his footing to Ravichandran Ashwin. The southpaw was into shape as a right-hander and swatted the ball over long-off (which would be a right-hander’s long-on) for a huge six.
India win T20 International series 3-0 Down Under – Sydney, 2016
Australia dominated India in the One-Day International (ODI) series and clinched in 4-1. However, in the T20s, India turned it on and wrapped things up with victories in the first two games at Adelaide and Melbourne. Australia were eager to seal a consolation win at Sydney and Shane Watson set things up with a century, taking Australia to 197 for five. In reply, India had a solid start but things tightened towards the end. Suresh Raina maintained the tempo with a brisk knock but at the other end, the comeback man Yuvraj Singh, seemed to struggle. India needed 17 off the last over and Yuvraj had ambled to five off nine balls. But, you can never write him off. The first ball from Andrew Tye was hit over fine-leg for a four and the next one was dug out for a six over mid-wicket. The crowd welcomed him back! India then managed a victory with Raina finishing things off with a boundary.
Virat Kohli takes India to the ICC World T20 semi-final – Mohali, 2016
A game that brought out the best of Virat Kohli! Hosts India were favourites for the ICC World T20 2016 but needed to beat Australia in their last league game to make it into the semi-finals. In the crunch game at Mohali, Australia managed a competitive 160 and defended it with great spirit. India were facing the mounting rate when Kohli unleashed his calculative best. He picked the bowlers he needed to attack, singled out James Faulkner towards the death and then got India closer with an attack on Nathan Coulter-Nile. When MS Dhoni hit the winning runs, Kohli slumped to the ground as the weight was off his shoulders. It showed how much the victory meant to him.