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T20I: Maxwell gives parting gift, keeps Australia's hopes alive

T20I: Maxwell gives parting gift, keeps Australia's hopes alive

By BD Naraayannkar
Guwahati, Nov 28 (UNI) Glenn Maxwell gave a parting gift to Australia before flying off to his home country with a blistering knock of 104 not out from 48 balls, helping his side to register a win in a last-ball in Match 3 of the bilateral series at Barsapara Cricket Stadium here on Tuesday.
The victory keeps Australia's hopes alive in the 5-match T20I series after Indian winning the first two at Visakhapatnam and Thiruvananthapuram.
Needing 21 off the last over, Australia had an advantage of five fielders in the ring due to an over-rate penalty.
Captain Mathew Wade started the chase with a boundary and then took a single off Prasidh Krishna to give Maxwell the strike, which reduced the equation to 16 from 4.
Maxwell got his way with a six and then sliced into the gap at deep backward point for a boundary. He then heaved it away from the fielder at deep mid-wicket for another boundary that fetched him the fastest T20I hundred by an Australian.
Needing 2 off one delivery, Maxwell exhibited his stamp of authority to finish it back over Krishna's head to win the game.
Australia were always a tad ahead of India during the chase, and Maxwell's histrionics saw them go past the mark when their chips were down. Travis Head and Aaron Hardie got them briskly off the blocks, but there was a bit of a slump in the middle with a couple of wickets falling, but Maxwell motored on in top gear.
Wade played an important role of a good foil to Maxwell as he the captain watched Maxwell get to his milestone hundred.
Earlier, a sizzling 57-ball 123 runs knock by opener Ruturaj Gaikwad helped India not only to post 222/3, but became the first Indian batsman to notch up a T20I century against Australia. He paced up his innings beautifully.
In his first 22 balls, he scored 22 runs at the strike rate of 10, but in the next 35 balls Gaikwad shifted gears, and plundered 101 runs at the strike rate of 288.57. He upped the ante when India were 155/3 in 17 overs by taking on Hardie, hammering 25 runs in the 18th and 30 in the final over alongside Tilak Varma who remained unbeaten with 31 off 24 balls.
Yashavi Jaiswal (6) and Ishan Kishan (0) departed early, falling to Jason Behrendorff and Kane Richardson as India were reduced to 24/2 in third over.
Suryakumar Yadav and Gaikwad steadied the ship and added a crucial 57 runs before the captain departed, but Gaikwad took control following that.
Soon after getting to his half-century, the graceful opener reached his record century in a jiffy.
In reply, Australia started off in a hurry, but lost three quick wickets. Aaron Hardie lost his wicket for 16, after he was caught by Ishan Khan off pacer Arshdeep Singh, after putting on 47 runs for the first wicket with Travis Head.
Head was next to depart top-edging one to Ravi Bishnoi at short fine leg off Avesh Khan in the sixth over. He made 35 from 18 balls with 8 boundaries. In the very next over, Bishnoi castled the middle stump of Josh Inglis for 10, reducing Australia to 73/3 in seven overs.
Marcus Stoinis and Maxwell steadied the ship, and stitched a very crucial 60 runs partnership for the fourth wicket. Stoinis was caught by Suryakumar Yadav after making 17 off 21 balls with 2 boundaries.
Big-hitting Tim David was out for a golden duck off Bishnoi after Suryakumar held on to a lolly on offer.
Earlier, Wade won the toss and elected to bowl first. He brought in Head, Behrendorff and Richardson, in place of Matthew Short, Sean Abbott and Adam Zampa.
India made one change by including pacer Avesh Khan, coming in for Mukesh Kumar who is getting married.

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