SYDNEY: Virat Kohli blasted 85, but it wasn’t enough to save Australia from battling a Twenty20 International series sweep in the final match in Sydney on Tuesday with a dramatic 12-run win.
India had expectations of pulling off victory when Kohli was at the crease in his imperious 61-ball knock, but when he dropped to a sensational outfield diving catch by Daniel Sams 11 balls from the finish, India’s hopes went with him.
Australia set India a successful 187-run target to pursue before a raucous crowd of over 30,000, with attendance limits removed by the New South Wales state government in the new Covid-19 protocols.
But India could not duplicate their dynamic batting two nights ago at the Sydney Cricket Ground when, despite losing the previous one-day international series 2-1 to the home team, they sealed the T20 series.
We felt we might pull it off at one point when Hardik [Pandya] started going,” Kohli said. “During our batting, the middle over step lost us the game. It would have been made easier for Hardik by a 30-odd alliance. We are finding ways to come back and send a scare to the opposition and the win of the series is a little asterisk for us to complete the 2020 season on a high.
Matthew Wade blasted his best T20 score and after India had taken the toss, an eventful half-century Glenn Maxwell lifted Australia to 186 for five.
There was a night out for Maxwell. He survived two reviews, was picked off a no-ball, had a six stopped from fielding over the rope by agile Sanju Samson and ended with three sixes before he was out for 54 balls out of 36.
Before he was leg before wicket to Shardul Thakur for 80, his highest T20 run, Wade put on 90 with Maxwell for the third wicket, off 53 balls with seven fours and two sixes.
It was a brilliant series, and we just happened to be on the wrong end of the first two,’ said Captain Aaron Finch of Australia. “We had two leg-spinners on the side for the first time in the T20 series, and they were bold with the short boundaries here so credit to both of them.”
The new ball was given to Maxwell and he got K.L. With his second delivery in India’s innings, Rahul’s wicket struck Steve Smith’s throat at deep mid-wicket.
But when Kohli was on nine in Maxwell’s next over in what may have been a big turning point, Smith put down a close catch.
On the second grab in the deep, Sams took a brilliant diving catch to dismiss Shikhar Dhawan in the sixth over for 28 off leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson.
Smith made amends to catch Samson for 10 off Swepson for his earlier expensive fumble and then pulled off an impressive leap over the ropes to avoid the next ball from a six off Kohli.
With the wicket of Shreyas Iyer, lbw for a first-ball duck to finish with 3-23 before he was appointed man-of-the-match, Swepson completed his final over.
Sams had 20 runs taken from his second, two Kohli sixes and another one from Pandya to rev up the run-rate of India.
In order to win, India required 43 runs from the last three innings, but leg-spinner Adam Zampa removed Pandya for 20, caught by Finch, crucially.
For his match-winning innings to lead India to a series victory in the second T20 on Sunday, Pandya was subsequently named man-of-the-series.
In order to complete Kohli’s innings and India’s dreams, Sams took another super diving catch off Andrew Tye in the penultimate over.
M.S. Wade lbw b Thakur 80
A.J. Finch c Pandya b Sundar 0
S.P.D. Smith b Sundar 22
G.J. Maxwell b Natarajan 54
M.C. Henriques not out 5
D.J.M. Short run out 6
D.R. Sams not out 4
EXTRAS (LB-1, W-10, NB-1) 12
TOTAL (for five wkts, 20 overs) 186
FALL OF WKTS: 1-14, 2-79, 3-169, 4-175, 5-182.
DID NOT BAT: S.A. Abbott, M.J. Swepson, A.J. Tye, A. Zampa.
BOWLING: Chahar 4-0-34-0 (1nb); Washington Sundar 4-0-34-2 (1nb); Natarajan 4-0-33-1 (2nb); Chahal 4-0-41-0 (1nb, 2w); Thakur 4-0-43-1.
K.L. Rahul c Smith b Maxwell 0
S. Dhawan c Sams b Swepson 28
V. Kohli c Sams b Tye 85
S.V. Samson c Smith b Swepson 10
S.S. Iyer lbw b Swepson 0
H.H. Pandya c Finch b Zampa 20
Washington Sundar c Tye b Abbott 7
S.N. Thakur not out 17
D.L. Chahar not out 0
EXTRAS (B-1, W-6) 7
TOTAL (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 174
FALL OF WKTS: 1-0, 2-74, 3-97, 4-100, 5-144, 6-151, 7-164.
DID NOT BAT: Y.S. Chahal, T. Natarajan.
BOWLING: Maxwell 3-0-20-1 (1w); Abbott 4-0-49-1 (1w); Sams 2-0-29-0 (1w); Tye 4-0-31-1 (1w); Swepson 4-0-23-3; Zampa 3-0-21-1.
RESULT: Australia won by 12 runs; India win three-match series 2-1.
UMPIRES: R.J. Tucker (Australia) and G.A. Abood (Australia)
TV UMPIRE: P. Wilson (Australia).
MATCH REFEREE: D.C. Boon (Australia).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Mitchell Swepson.
MAN-OF-THE-SERIES: Hardik Pandya.
FIRST MATCH: Canberra, India won by 11 runs.
SECOND MATCH: Sydney, India won by six wickets.