By Elton Gomes
Heavy rain in Melbourne meant that the second T20 International between Australia and India had to be abandoned after the hosts finished with 132 for seven off 19 overs.
Indian captain Virat Kohli had a word with the umpires, who refused to stop play even though it began pouring in the 18th over. The first T20I in Brisbane was also affected by rain, but play was possible after the match was reduced to 17-overs-per-side. Australia won the first T20 by four runs.
The second T20I at the Melbourne Cricket Ground was important for India, as this was the only way they could level the three-match series.
After the first T20 experienced bad weather, Melbourne turned out to be worse as the match was completely called off after Australia finished 19 overs. As it continued to drizzle, the umpires were unable to get the match restarted.
Through the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method, India were initially set a revised target of 137 in 19 overs, which was later reduced to 46 off five overs. After that, India were assigned a target of 90 from 11 overs. However, as the downpour continued, the umpires eventually decided to abandon the match.
Earlier, after winning the toss, India skipper Virat Kohli opted to bowl first against the hosts in overcast conditions. Kohli made no changes to his playing XI, with pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2-20) and Khaleel Ahmed (2-39) provided India with an excellent start.
Kumar removed Australian skipper Aaron Finch for a duck in the second ball of the match. Australia’s Chris Lynn (13) got off to a good start but lost his wicket after playing a poor shot in the fourth over. Opener D’Arcy Short (14) followed Lynn, and Australia were reeling at 37 for three after just 5.3 overs. All-rounder Marcus Stoinis was also dismissed cheaply for 4, putting his side in more trouble.
Glenn Maxwell (19) and Ben McDermott (32 not out) managed to pile on some runs, after adding 21 runs for the fifth wicket. But Krunal Pandya (1/26) bowled a beauty to remove Maxwell.
Australia somehow managed to cross the 100-mark in the 16th over, due to a 27-run partnership between Nathan Coulter-Nile (18) and McDermott. McDermott kept his cool on one end and scored 31 off 20 balls with Andrew Tye (12), to provide the impetus to the innings before rain stopped play.
For India, fast-bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed were the pick of the bowlers as they scalped two wickets each. Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, and Krunal Pandya finished their innings with one wicket each.
The third and final match of the T20I series will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground on November 25.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius