Matthew Wade sent Australia to a four-wicket victory over India after a crushing knock from Cameron Green in the opening match of the three-match Twenty20 series in Mohali on Tuesday.
Wade’s unbeaten 45 out of 21 helped the visitors chase India’s massive 209 runs with four balls left after Australia stuttered briefly in the middle overs after quick losses.
But it was all-rounder Green, who replaced star batsman David Warner for the India tour, who laid the groundwork for the highest scoring chase, crushing 61 from 30 balls as the opener.
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Green, the player of the match, hit eight fours and four sixes after Aussies skipper Aaron Finch lost 22 in the third over.
It was his first game in international cricket as an opener, and only his second T20I.
The right-hand all-rounder – who made up for conceding 21 runs from the last left of India’s innings – closed a 70-run partnership with Steve Smith before being caught by Axar Patel’s Virat Kohli.
“That was a phenomenal achievement,” former Australian Brad Hodge told ESPNCricinfo. “This is a boy who is not even in the T20 World Cup side.
“To come in like that and perform in a very difficult environment – the wicket was no doubt good, but it’s the two best sides playing against each other with great records.
“It was impressive to be able to dismantle the Indian bowling line-up like this.”
Smith took 35 out of 25 in the next over, followed by Glenn Maxwell’s wicket in the same over for one.
Wade, however, put on a strong batting performance, hitting six fours and two sixes, enabling the visitors to chase after goal in the 19th over.
Tim David, who made his highly anticipated T20 debut for Australia, scored 18 from 14 balls, while Josh Inglis made 17 from 10 balls.
Pat Cummins fired the winning shot at Yuzvendra Chahal, reaching 211-6.
Patel took 3-17 while Umesh Yadav took 2-27.
It was Australia’s second-highest successful pursuit in the white-ball format and the highest against India.
“On this ground, we weren’t too concerned. Anywhere between 12-14 and an over at the back on a wicket like this and an outfield like this, we’re backing ourselves to take them,” Wade said.
In the first innings, the visitors won the toss and opted to field, with all-rounder Hardik Pandya crushing a quick 71 to help the hosts complete a challenging 6-208 total.
Opener KL Rahul also made half a century, while Suryakumar Yadav hit 46 after losing to skipper Rohit Sharma for 11 and star batsman Kohli for two in the power play.
Rahul amassed 55 from 35 balls, hitting four fours and three sixes before being caught by Josh Hazlewood’s Nathan Ellis on a deep square leg.
Yadav hit four sixes in his 25-ball run before being caught behind Green. But Pandya further increased the scoring percentage, taking 71 from 30 deliveries. The 28-year-old all-rounder hit seven fours and five sixes, including three back-to-back hits in the last three balls of the innings.
Ellis was the most successful bowler, finishing with numbers from 3-30.
The three-game series will be used as a warm-up for next month’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
The visitors play without tempo spearhead Mitchell Starc and all-rounders Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh due to injuries.
India is looking to recover after crashing out of the Asian Cup this month before the knockout stage.
The teams will meet on Friday for the second Twenty20 match in Nagpur.