Dubai: In the end, it came down to one thing — India’s spinners outbowled Australia’s.
It was a fantastic game, much lower-scoring than we expected, and the conditions played a big part.
I spoke to Rahul Dravid before the game and he didn’t expect there to be any dew. He was really surprised when it came down and said that India would have batted first as well.
You can’t allow Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin to bowl how they want to bowl on a surface like that. They’re so accurate and so highly skilled — Jadeja has done it to Australia so many times now.
Not able to put pressure back on India
Part of it comes down to how India bowled spin, but we also need to look at the way that Australia batted. There was a clear plan among the group to be proactive, to try to limit dot balls and rotate strike against what they knew would be a world-class group of spinners.
There was a bit of a lack of aggression from the Australian batters. I think they’ll be disappointed by the intent they showed and the fact that they weren’t able put any pressure back on India.
It needs a mindset shift, to look to be on the front foot a little more and take some calculated risks.
That being said, everything felt possible when India were two for three. The atmosphere in the ground was amazing, when the ball went in the air with Virat Kohli on 12, it went dead silent and there was a kind of collective groan that I’ve never heard before.
Different complexion on the game
When it went down, the fans went nuts and that was the turning point for sure. Australia created enough opportunities and if they’d got Virat, that would have put a totally different complexion on the game.
When Virat gets in, he gets the crowd onside and the momentum starts to swing his way, he feels unstoppable. The way he managed that run chase was unbelievable and KL Rahul played a masterful knock. If Australia had got up to 240, India wouldn’t have been able to soak up pressure for 15 overs. Chasing 200, the run rate was never going to get out of hand. More chances would have come if India had to pull the trigger a bit earlier.
Adam Zampa clearly didn’t bowl as well as he has in the past. He’s had a neck injury and some shoulder issues, so understandably is a little bit below his best.
The ball got very wet and the way that Rahul hit him off his length in the first over was devastating. He played a beautiful late cut to a very good ball and that forced Zamps to be a little bit fuller, to strive for a little more pace and ultimately overpitch.
Optimistic about Australia's chances
That was down to great batting rather than anything Zamps could have done differently, they just had the better of him today.
The mood around Australia is still optimistic. With a nine-game group stage, you can afford a little slip-up here and there and it’s not fatal. In the T20 World Cup, we found that losing one game is enough and the margins are so fine. Here you can cope with a couple of losses, you just don’t want them to be too big for net run rate.
All in all, India have got such a well-rounded squad, three brilliant spinners and three brilliant quicks, and Hardik Pandya being back bowling is huge for the balance of their side. They will be so hard to beat in these conditions.
Aaron Finch is the former captain and opener of Australian team