It has been over a year since Australia won a series in any limited-overs format, and times have sometimes been rough. Coming to India would have seemed a daunting challenge in that backdrop. But nothing can calm nerves like an opening win. "To beat India in India in a T20 match with a crowd like that ... the boys take a lot of confidence from that," said Peter Handscomb.
But it wasn't a smooth, seamless effort from the visitors. At one stage they seemed to be cruising towards the 127-run target and looked primed to overhaul it with a few balls to spare.
"If anyone could face their first ball in the last over and get us 14, it's probably Pat Cummins" – @Gmaxi_32 after Australia sealed a last-ball victory in the first #INDvAUS T20I.— ICC (@ICC) February 25, 2019
REACTION ⬇️https://t.co/zL1QNu0dUQ pic.twitter.com/rPPuKhMiAX
But once Glenn Maxwell fell to Yuzvendra Chahal for 56, things started unravelling. D'Arcy Short's run-out for 37, caused in part by Handscomb, too had a role to play in a collapse that saw Australia slip from 89/2 to 113/7. Handscomb himself wasn't able to stem the rot, as he fell for a 15-ball 13, leaving lower-order batsmen Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson to pull off a last-over heist.
"Running out D'Arcy probably wasn't the smartest thing to do," reflected Handscomb. "He was hitting a boundary an over and getting a single off every other ball so if I could take that back, I would. From there it is tough to go straightaway and score against a world-class attack that is India.
"I went through some serious emotions there in the last over. When I got out I was distraught and then when we won, huge elation, so yeah I think there's three of four overs that hurt us but ultimately 35 overs of the game we played really well, and that's what we're going to focus on."
What a match in Visakhapatnam! India came close to defending a low total, but Australia prevailed on the final ball to go 1-0 up.https://t.co/kYCElJJ6tH— ICC (@ICC) February 24, 2019
Short's untimely dismissal wasn't the only run-out in the match. Even Marcus Stoinis' innings was cut short in the same manner. Handscomb said that batsmen will start communicating better, suggesting it isn't a reason for much worry.
"Running between the wickets is just one of those things ... I hadn't batted with D'Arcy a lot and Stoin hadn't batted with D'Arcy a lot. You've got a work out the singles you can take and your calls and then it comes by playing more and more with each other. So I wouldn't be too worried about that going forward."