Kohli, Raina guide India to big total in 1st T20I

Adelaide, Jan 26 (IANS) Virat Kohli hit a quickfire half-century as India posted a challenging total of 188/3 in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) against Australia at the Adelaide Oval here on Tuesday.

Kohli remeained unbeaten on 90 runs, smashing nine fours and two sixes during his 55-ball stint. The Delhi batsman stiched together a 134-run stand with Suresh Raina which brought the Indian innings back on track after the visitors had suffered a couple of early blows.

Raina batted excellently at the other end, scoring 41 runs off 34 deliveries with three hits to the fence and a six.

Pacer Shane Watson was the most successful among the Australian bowlers with figures of 2/24 in his four overs. Fellow pacer James Faulkner had figures of 1/43.

Put in to bat by Australia, India were off to a flying start with Rohit Sharma producing the early fireworks. The Mumbai right-hander took a special liking to Shaun Tait’s bowling, hitting the pacer for a six and a four in the first over and then another couple of boundaries in the third.

With opening pacers Tait and Kane Richardson unable to control the Indian batsmen, Australia captain Aaron Finch was forced to make a bowling change, bringing Faulkner and Watson into the attack.

Faulkner was unlucky to miss out on a wicket in his opening over as a loose shot from Rohit saw the ball come off the top edge of the bat and fly towards third man where Cameron Boyce dropped a sitter.

But the disappointed home fans did not have to wait too long to celebrate as Watson struck twice in the next over. The right-armer sent back the dangerous Rohit with his very first ball as the opener drove an off-cutter straight to Faulkner at mid-on.

Watson dismissed Shikhar Dhawan just four balls later with a slower one as the Delhi batsman’s mistimed shot offered an edge to Matthew Wade behind the stumps.

That saw Kohli and Raina come together and they handled the Australian bowling with ease and by the time the partnership cam to an end in the final over, they had alrady guided the visitors to a big score.

Raina was unlucky to miss out on a half-century, and was dismissed while moving across the stumps and attempting to steer a Faulkner on the off-stump to the on-side. But the left-hander mistimed the shot as the ball went on to his the stumps.

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni strode to the middle and brought the crowd to their feet by hitting his first two balls for a six and a four to end the Indian innings on a high note.

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