Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja's concussion substitute, grabbed the opportunity with both hands and scalped a three-fer as India thumped Australia by 11 runs in the first T20I of the three-game series on Friday. Chahal scalped three wickets while conceding just 25 runs to also bag the Man of the Match award.
After being put to bat first, India were bolstered by Ravindra Jadeja's blistering batting show with the bat. Continuing his brilliant form with the bat, Jadeja stitched a 23-ball 44 to guide India to a challenging total of 161 runs. He hit 5 fours and a six as the visitors notched up 64 runs in the last five overs.
Jadeja, however, didn't step out in the second innings as Chahal came in as his concussion substitute. The Indian team management decided to bring in Chahal after Jadeja was struck on the helmet during his brisk innings. Before Jadeja, it was KL Rahul who struck a vital half-century after India lost wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli in quick succession. Apart from Rahul and Jadeja, Sanju Samson also flexed his muscles with a 15-ball 23 cameo.
In response, the hosts got off to a solid start with skipper Aaron Finch and D'Arcy Short stitching a 56-run opening stand. However, it was Chahal who opened the floodgates and provided India with the first breakthrough. Along with Chahal, 29-year-old T Natarajan also stepped up and took three wickets on his T20I debut, restricting Australia to just 150 runs in the second innings.
Jadeja being replaced by Chahal was the talking point of the game, especially after the latter clinched the Player of the Match trophy. Reacting to Chahal replacing Jadeja in the second innings, Aussie captain Finch said that one can't challenge a medical expert's opinion.
The injury got progressively worse as the game went on (about his injury to the hip). Their doctor had ruled Jadeja out due to concussion. You can't be challenging a medical expert's opinion. We probably leaked too many runs at the death. Then while chasing, we didn't hit too many boundaries in the 6-over period," said Finch in the post-match presentation.
Australia head coach Justin Langer was also unhappy with Chahal stepping in the middle as a concussion substitute. He was seen arguing with match referee and his former teammate David Boon after the first innings.