Ranchi: Opener Shikhar Dhawan believes the right blend of youth and experience makes India a formidable side and it would be great if they can emulate the past success of five-time world champions Australia.
After a comprehensive 4-1 victory in the ODI series, India extended their dominating run in the T20Is with a nine-wicket win over Australia in the opening game last night to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
"Our team is very strong. We have been doing well for a long time. We have some good youngsters as well as experienced players. The youngsters are maturing well," Dhawan said at the post-match news conference.
Giving credit to IPL, Dhawan said: "You really get a good boost when you perform well with International players in the IPL.
"In today's era most of the teams are on level par. It would be a great thing if we can achieve what Australians did earlier," he said referring to the era when Aussies ruled the world cricket.
Australia were cruising at 50/1 in 6.1 overs with Aaron Finch looking in murderous form, when the wrist spin twin of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav arrested their progress.
Chahal provided the breakthrough dismissing his bunny Glenn Maxwell (17) for the fourth successive times, while Yadav cleaned up the dangerous-looking Finch (42) and then in his next over removed Moises Henriques (8) to return with figures of 4-0-16-2.
The visitors then suffered from familiar batting woes to be restricted for 118/8 when rain curtailed their innings in 18.4 overs to give an easy DLS revised target of 48 in six overs to India, which the hosts achieved with three balls to spare and nine wickets in hand.
He said the JSCA International Stadium wicket here offered low bounce but India were confident of achieving the target if the match had gone the distance.
"The target was not that big. Yes the wicket had low bounce but we are used to the conditions here. We could have chased easily," he said.
Dhawan, who returned to the side after opting out of the ODI series to attend his ailing wife, looked in fine nick to steer the small chase with an unbeaten 15 from 12 balls.
"It feels great to play in the XI after my return and start on a winning note. I've also got some runs under my belt which is a good sign," he said.
The rain interruption for about two hours that curtailed the game meant the Ranchi crowd were left disappointed as they couldn't see local hero MS Dhoni bat.
"Who all will you play in six overs! Fans must have returned disappointed. But they would surely be happy of India's win. At the end of the day, we won the match that's what matters to us," Dhawan said.
Asked whether they would shuffle the batting order now, he said: "Captain would know as I've returned after a long time. If players perform they will get opportunity.
"Everyone doing well is a good sign. Our bench strength is strong with the likes of Ajinkya Rahane who did so well in the ODIs, then there's KL Rahul and Murali Vijay in Tests so it's a good sign for India," he concluded.
The second T20I of the three-match series is in Guwahati on October 10....