Krunal, Kohli help India draw level
Brief Scores –
Australia 164/6 (20 overs)
D’arcy Short 33 (29)
Marcus Stoinis 25 (15)
Krunal Panday 4/36
Virat Kohli 61 (41)
Shikhar Dhawan 41 (22)
Adam Zampa 1/22
Krunal’s heroic return to form, Dhawan and Rohit’s threatening opening partnership and Kohli’s masterclass highlighted India’s victory in the last game of the series against Australia at Sydney on Sunday.
Opting to bat first, Australia got off to a promising start through Aaron Finch and D’Arcy Shot. With some sublime shots and with the help of a dropped chance, the duo put on a solid 68-run opening stand.
However, what followed changed the course of the game. Kuldeep Yadav put an halt to the run flow as he provided India with their first breakthrough when Aaron Finch miscalculated and hit an orthodox chinaman to Krunal Pandya who didn’t have to move an inch to take an easy catch.
After the first wicket, India’s bowlers led by Krunal Pandya took complete charge.
Pandya struck twice in two balls – first trapping D’Arcy Shot plumb in front and then removing Ben McDermott for a golden duck.
Krunal didn’t give the Aussies a single chance to bounce back when he snared Glenn Maxwell.
Maxwell tried to clear one straight down the field but couldn’t get hold of the quicker one and ended up mistiming it into Rohit Sharma’s hands.
His MI teammate Bumrah added to the home side’s misery when a rocket throw at the bowler’s end saw Chris Lynn’s innings cut short.
Australia managed to stay in the game with the help of quickfire cameos from Stoinis and Carey which provided them a solid base.
Krunal Pandya took career-best figures of 4-36 as Australia were restricted to 164/6 in their 20 overs.
Mitchell Starc’s return to his side didn’t go unnoticed as his 145+kmph deliveries in the first over itself warned the Indian openers to take it easy. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma’s decision to not to go after Starc was well balanced by their fireworks against the other bowlers. Nathan Coulter-Nile was welcomed with a boundary off his first ball by Shikhar Dhawan. Marcus Stoinis, who won the game for the Aussies in the first T20I with his intelligent slower-ones, didn’t get the same response in this game. His first and his only over of the game was the most expensive one as Rohit and Dhawan scored 22 runs off it.
Their 67-run stand came in just 5.2 overs, before Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed by Mitchell Starc.
Dhawan was initially given not out by the umpire but Starc’s successful review sent him back.
Soon after his wicket, Rohit Sharma was bowled by Adam Zampa in what turned out to be a wicket-maiden. His quick 23 runs off 16 balls and Dhawan’s 22-ball 41 laid a strong foundation in India’s chase.
Virat Kohli was back at number three and got support from KL Rahul as India cashed in.
Rahul couldn’t capitalize on his start and wasted an opportunity to take India home when he mistimed a delivery from Glenn Maxwell.
The game tilted on Australia’s side after Rishabh Pant couldn’t read Andrew Tye’s slow bouncer and gave an easy catch to Alex Carey to depart for a duck.
Australia’s bowlers’ joy was limited to Pant’s wicket as Kohli was glued on other side and Dinesh Karthik partnered brilliantly with him to finish the game without a twist in the end.
Virat Kohli played responsibly in the start of his innings but unleashed according to the need in the later part. With two sixes and four fours, he scored 61 runs off 41 balls to level the series on a positive note.
India will have enough break before they don the whites on December 6 to kickstart the four-match Test series.