Australia crushed India by 49 runs on Friday in the strongest sign yet that they have got to grips with the special demands of Twenty20 cricket.
Australia’s opening pair of David Warner (72 from 42 balls) and Shane Watson (54 from 32) hammered India’s bowling attack, their 104 run partnership setting up a total 184 for five in their Super Eight game at a sun-drenched Kensington Oval.
Michael Clarke’s side struck more than half of their runs from sixes — smashing 16 in total — before the Australian pace attack, relishing the fast and bouncy track, ripped through the Indian top order.
Dirk Nannes and Shaun Tait, who took three wickets each, generated some real speed as Australia reduced India to 50 for seven after 10.3 overs.
Although Rohit Sharma struck a magnificently entertaining unbeaten 79, including six sixes, it was an innings that only served to add respectability to the magnitude of India’s defeat.
It was a display from Australia, with some outstanding fielding to compliment the endeavours with bat and ball, that will make them, for many, favourites for the title in the Caribbean.
“I think our performance was really good today, if we continue to make totals like that, with our bowling and the way that we are fielding, it is going to be hard for opposition teams to beat us,” said skipper Clarke.
The damage was done early by Warner and Watson who meted out particular punishment to Indian slow left-armer Ravinda Jadeja.
Jadeja was hit for three sixes in a row by Watson at the end of his first over. When he was brought back Warner promptly hammered him for three consecutive sixes.
Jadeja’s misery was partially self-inflicted — he had dropped Watson when the Australian opener was on just seven.
David Hussey made 35 but after Australia were 150 in 15.2 overs they will be disappointed not to have become the first team to break the 200 barrier at this tournament.
India though were simply blitzed by short pitched pace bowling on a responsive surface that exposed an old weakness of Indian batsmen against the rising delivery.
Rather than try to battle their way through the difficult spells of pace, the Indians tried to go on the attack with miserable results.
“The adrenalin sometimes get the better of you. You try to fight fire with fire and it doesn’t always work and this was an example of that,” said skipper MS Dhoni.
“If somebody bowls 150kph short stuff then you have to be really good at pulling which isn’t our natural strength.
“Maybe we could have played through the first few overs because we saw as the ball got a bit older it didn’t come on as quickly.