The vociferous Chinnaswamy stadium crowd, which was thrilled by a classic Virat Kohli knock, couldn’t help but applaud a brilliant counteract from Glenn Maxwell in the second and final T20I here on Wednesday.
Maxwell enhanced his reputation as a batsman with brutal power and eccentric shots with an unbeaten 55-ball 113 (7x4, 9x6) that made a mockery of the 190-run target and handed Australians their maiden T20I series win over India.
“It’s a great start to the tour. It was a pretty good wicket and we were able to wait for anything slightly off line or length. We backed ourselves and we knew we will be able to pull off 11 or 12 runs an over in the final four overs,” said Maxwell, who was adjudged the man-of-the-match.
Kohli's brilliance had powered the hosts to a strong 190/4. The India skipper hammered a 38-ball unbeaten 72 (2x4, 6x6) and forged a century stand of just 50 balls with Mahendra Singh Dhoni (40, 23b, 3x4, 3x6) after the visitors won the toss and elected to field. Opener K L Rahul, on the back of a brilliant 50 in the first T20I, slammed an entertaining 47 (26b, 3x4, 4x6) at his home ground.
India began well, reducing Australia to 22/2 in four overs. Opener Marcus Stoinis (7) and Aaron Finch (8) threw their wickets away but D'Arcy Short (40, 28b, 6x4) and Maxwell forged a 51-run stand to steady the ship for Australia.
India stayed in the hunt when Vijay Shankar broke the stand by removing Short in the 12th over but Maxwell blew the hosts away with a belligerent innings. He toyed with the spin combo of Krunal Pandya (0/33) and Yuzvendra Chahal (0/47). The inexperienced pace duo of Shankar (2/38) and Siddharth Kaul (1/45) couldn’t stop the barrage.
Ahead of the 17th over, with Australia requiring 44, India hoped for a twist with their trump card Jasprit Bumrah (0/30) to bowl. Maxwell, who was in a different zone by then, picked Bumrah’s length to slam a four off the second ball and then read his slower ball to smash it past the square leg fielder for four. With that, Maxwell had achieved a thorough domination and Australia romped home with two balls to spare.
Earlier, it took 11 balls for Kohli to get his first boundary, a cut past point off Adam Zampa (0/23). But the right-hander came into his own in the 16th over, slamming three consecutive off Nathan Coulter-Nile (1/33) as India fetched 22 runs in the over.
Dhoni, who had received flak for his slow knock in the first T20I, was sever on the spinners and essayed a breezy innings.
After a quiet period of first four overs, Rahul brought the packed stadium alive with two sixes off Jhye Richardson (0/45). The stylish Karnataka batsman brought up India’s fifty in the sixth over with two more maximums – a stunning flick over mid-wicket and a cracking pull.
Rahul’s entertaining stay met a tame end. Attempting a cheeky boundary, the right-hander guided a short ball off Coulter-Nile, straight to third man. Rahul’s dismissal put Australia on top as they bagged two wickets in the next 24 balls – Shikhar Dhawan (14) and Pant (1) – and gave away just 14 runs.
The Kohli-Dhoni combination made sure India had a good total to fight for but in the end, Maxwell’s ‘big show’ floored the Indian bowlers.