Barbados: Rohit Sharma’s blistering unbeaten half-century went in vain as Australia humiliated India, inflicting on the 2007 champions a crushing 49-run defeat in a Super Eight Group F match of the Twenty20 World Cup on Friday.
Barring the toss, which Mahendra Singh Dhoni won and opted to field, nothing went right for India today and the Australian team, under Michael Clarke, made a statement that they are determined to win the only major trophy missing in their cupboard.
Put in to bat, Australia rode on the blistering 104-run stand provided by openers David Warner (72) and Shane Watson (54) in 10-odd overs to post a commanding 184 for five even though they looked good for the 200-mark.
The misery of India’s chase could be gauged from the fact that barring Rohit (78 not out), none of India’s top eight batsmen could reach double digit score and they eventually collapsed in 17.4 overs for a meagre 135.
Rohit waged a grim battle with an unbeaten 45-ball knock, scoring nearly 60 percent of the team’s total with the help of four fours and six sixes but his single-handed effort could only delay the inevitable.
Harbhajan Singh (13) was the only other Indian batsman to reach double digit.
For Australia, Dirk Nannes (3/25) and Shaun Tait (3/21) led India’s rout.
Murali Vijay (2), who has struggled against the short rising ball, meekly chipped Nannes to Cameron White at backward point to begin the exodus and soon Gautam Gambhir (9) top-edged a pull off Nannes to Michael Hussey as India lost both the openers inside three overs.
Suresh Raina, who had made a rollicking 101 against South Africa, fell in similar fashion to Tait and when Nannes castled Yuvraj Singh with a dipping yorker, the writing was on the wall for India.
At 23 for four, India were staring at defeat and they were eased out of their agony as the Aussies fired on all cylinders to complete the kill in the 18th over.
Rohit waged a valiant battle but the war had already been long won by the green and gold-clad Aussie legion.
Earlier, Shane Watson and David Warner bludgeoned the Indian attack into submission to guide Australia to 184 for five at the Kensington Oval.
The awesome openers set the stands on fire with a plethora of sixes, while posting a powerful 104 runs for the first wicket in 10.5 overs.
Watson struck six sixes in his 32-ball 54 while the stocky Warner did one better — hit seven sixes — in his breezy 42-ball 72.
There were as many 16 sixes in the Australian onslaught, with David Hussey (35 off 22 balls,2×6) and Brad Haddin (one six) continuing what Watson and Warner had begun.
Among the Indian bowlers, Harbhajan Singh (4-1-15-0) had been at his constricting best, tying down the dangerous Watson in his crease, even bowling a maiden in the first over the innings.
Ravindra Jadeja, however, undid all the good work, conceding as many as 38 runs in his two overs.
Watson smashed the 21-year-old for three successive sixes in his first over. Warner struck three in his second to ensure India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni did not turn back to the promising left-arm tweaker.
India could do little but watch in desperation as Watson and Warner cleared the pickets with effortless ease. In fact, the ground seemed too small for the power-hitting, There were a couple of times when the twosome cleared the roof.
It was good fortune for India that Watson perished in the 11th over and Warner demised in the 14th. The kind of form they were in, they could have possibly produced 200 runs for the first wicket, had they been at the wicket till the end of the innings.
Yusuf Pathan produced the breakthrough, castling Watson as he made room to smash the ball. Then Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra produced four wickets in the death overs to check the rampaging Aussies in their tracks.