PERTH: KL Rahul‘s knock went in vain as Western Australia stunned India with a 36-run victory in the second practice match in Perth on Thursday.
Western Australia posted 168/8 in their 20 overs owing to gritty half-centuries by Nick Hobson and D’Arcy Short. Ashwin’s three-wicket haul helped India restrict Western Australia’s flow of runs after the team had a blistering start to their innings.
India started the chase watchfully, with KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant trying to see off the initial swing and seam of the new ball. Pacers Jason Behrendorff and Matthew Kelly stuck to their line and lengths.
Both the bowlers bowled with great control and kept asking questions with the ball forcing the batters to play cautiously. Pant tried to break the shackles but perished in the attempt to do so. Behrendorff dismissed him in the fifth over for 9 which came off 11 balls.
Deepak Hooda was promoted up their order given his rich form in the limited opportunities he has got for the Indian team, which also includes a T20I century against Ireland. However, the batter failed to make a mark and was sent back to the dressing room by Lance Morris for a paltry 6(9).
The Indian team was unable to exploit the fielding restrictions and ended the power play with 29/1.
Hardik Pandya walked in to bat at number four and immediately made an impact as the all-rounder smashed two massive sixes within quick space. The batter, however, was not able to carry his innings forward and was sent packing by Hamish Mckenzie for 17(9).
All-rounder Axar Patel was sent ahead in the pursuit of some quick runs but the left-hander played a scratchy inning of 2(7) before bowing out to Morris in the 13th over leaving the team at 79/4 in the 13th over.
India’s recently designated finisher Dinesh Karthik then partnered with Rahul to take India beyond the 100-run mark but was unable to close the match, unlike the previous few matches where he hit the winning runs. He was dismissed for 10(14) in the 16th over leaving India struggling at 107/6 at the end of the 16 overs.
The men in blue needed 62 runs from the final four overs with Rahul still at the crease reaching his fifty in 43 balls with Harshal Patel joining him at the crease.
Rahul played some powerful shots in the latter part of his innings, smashing 21 runs off the 17th over giving the team a glimmer of hope but was dismissed by Andrew Tye ending India’s hope of winning the match. The opener was dismissed for 74 off 55 balls which included nine boundaries and two sixes.
India ended their inning at 132/8 giving Western Australia a 36-run win.
Brief Scores: Western Australia 168/8 (Nick Hobson 64, D’Arcy Short 52; R Ashwin 3/32) India 132/8 (KL Rahul 74, Hardik Pandya 17; Lance Morris 2/23)


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By Dipak

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