CANBERRA, Dec 4: Yuzvendra Chahal turned out to be the perfect concussion substitute after an injured Ravindra Jadeja did his part with the bat as the duo played their roles to perfection in India�s impressive 11-run victory over Australia in the first T20 International here on Friday.
While Jadeja smashed an unbeaten 44 off 23 balls to propel India to 161 for 7, his head injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise with India unleashing Chahal (3/25 in 4 overs) on an Australian side caught completely off-guard. The hosts could manage only 150 for 7 in 20 overs.
Credit was also due to the lion-hearted effort from debutant Thangarasu Natarajan (3/30) and off-spinner Washington Sundar (0/16 in 4 overs), who bowled well in Powerplay.
ICC match referee David Boon allowed the visitors a �like for like� replacement, as mandated by the rules, for Jadeja in Chahal even though home team coach Justin Langer looked visibly angry.
And to make matters worse, Chahal dismissed two inform men � Aaron Finch (35) and Steve Smith (12) � in his first two overs to turn the game on its head. At the end of it all, he also scooped the man of the match honours for his superb effort. The Australians were not prepared for Chahal, who bowled way better in his most preferred format, varying the pace of his deliveries and using the flight to good effect.
Natarajan, whose nerves had eased after a decent ODI debut, was right on the money and got one to straighten catching Glenn Maxwell plumb in-front.
If that wasn�t enough, Natarajan snuffed out a frustrated D�arcy Short (34 off 38 balls) to make it 113 for 4 and India didn�t have to look back from then on.
Earlier, vice-captain KL Rahul continued his impressive run in the shortest format with yet another fifty but it took Jadeja�s brilliant back-end flourish to take India to a fighting total.
The Indian vice-captain hit 51 off 40 balls but leg-spinner Adam Zampa (1/20 in 4 overs) and all-rounder Moises Henriques (3/22 in 4 overs) were brilliant between overs 11th and 15th, which shifted the momentum in favour of the home team till Jadeja came into play with a 44 not out off 23 balls.
During 11th and 15th over, India scored 22 runs and lost three wickets in Sanju Samson (23 off 15 balls), Manish Pandey (2 off 8 balls) and Rahul.
However, Jadeja (five fours and a six), who suffered from hamstring trouble, launched into Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc in the final two overs that yielded 34 runs taking Indian to a par-score at the Manuka Oval.
The Indians found Zampa difficult to get away as he conceded only one boundary while Henriques conceded just a six, cleverly varying the pace of his deliveries with a good mix of cutters and seam-up stuff.
India: KL Rahul c Abbott b Henriques 51, Shikhar Dhawan b Starc 1, Virat Kohli c and b Swepson 9, Sanju Samson c Swepson b Henriques 23, Manish Pandey c Hazlewood b Zampa 2, Hardik Pandya c Steven Smith b Henriques 16, Ravindra Jadeja not out 44, Washington Sundar c Abbott b Starc 7, Deepak Chahar not out 0. Extras: (LB-2, W-5, NB-1) 8. Total: (for seven wickets in 20 Overs) 161. Fall of Wickets: 1-11,2- 48, 3-86, 4-90, 5-92, 6-114, 7-152. Bowling: Mitchell Starc 4-0-34-2, Josh Hazlewood 4-0-39-0, Adam Zampa 4-0-20-1, Sean Abbott 2-0-23-0, Mitchell Swepson 2-0-21-1, Moises Henriques 4-0-22-3.
Australia: D Arcy Short c Hardik Pandya b T Natarajan 34, Aaron Finch c Hardik Pandya b Chahal 35, Steven Smith c Samson b Chahal 12, Glenn Maxwell lbw b T Natarajan 2, Moises Henriques lbw b D Chahar 30, Matthew Wade c Kohli b Chahal 7, Sean Abbott not out 12, Mitchell Starc b T Natarajan 1, Mitchell Swepson not out 12. Extras: (LB-4, W-1) 5. Total: ( Seven wicket in 20 Overs) 150. Fall of Wickets: 1-56, 2-72, 3-75, 4-113, 5-122, 6-126, 7-127. Bowling: Deepak Chahar 4-0-29-1,Washington Sundar 4-0-16-0, Mohammed Shami 4-0-46-0, T Natarajan 4-0-30-3, Yuzvendra Chahal 4-0-25-3. � PTI