Indian captain Virat Kohli’s 85 off 61 went in vain as the visitors went down by 12 runs in the third T20I against Australia at Sydney on Tuesday. The loss ended India’s nine-match winning streak in T20Is.
Leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson picked up three big wickets as India crumbled from 74 for 1 to 100 for 4 while chasing 187 in the final T20I. Kohli, however, kept India in the hunt with some magnificent hits. He struck four fours apart from three sixes and ran hard between wickets, but without enough support, Kohli couldn’t stop India from going down.
India got off to the worst start possible as Glenn Maxwell had KL Rahul caught at deep midwicket for 0 on the second ball of India’s run-chase.
Australia carried on from where the shabby India left off on the field, as Steve Smith dropped a sitter at deep midwicket to give Kohli a life in the third over. In the very next over, Andrew Tye put down a tough chance off his own bowling.
Plenty of runs in the final overs but not enough!
India fall 1️⃣2️⃣ runs short as Australia clinch victory in the third T20I 👏
— ICC (@ICC) December 8, 2020
Kohli kept picking up crucial boundaries as India finished the powerplay on 55 for 1. Shikhar Dhawan hammered Sean Abbott straight down the ground to end the sixth over on a positive note.
Dhawan and Kohli had added 74 for the second wicket before the left-hander lofted leg-spinner Swepson straight into the hands of deep midwicket for 28 off 21. The ball popped out of Daniel Sams’ hands as well, but he somehow held on to it in a bizarre T20I encounter filled with dropped catches.
Kohli progressed to yet another T20I fifty off 41 balls as India went into the last eight overs needing 93. At the other end, Swepson struck a double blow. Sanju Samson (10) wasted another opportunity, giving Swepson his second wicket by hitting a low full toss straight to long-on. Smith held on cleanly this time.
Shreyas Iyer then completely misread a googly from the leg-spinner as India crumbled to 100 for 4 in the Sydney T20I. The review only reaffirmed that Iyer had been beaten all ends up. The wicket also brought an end to Swepson’s excellent spell, and the leggie finished with figures of 3 for 23.
Virat Kohli’s luck finally runs out…
— ICC (@ICC) December 8, 2020
After Tye bowled a brilliant 15th over conceding only two, Kohli then launched Sams for sixes over deep midwicket and fine leg. Hardik Pandya joined the party by cutting one for a maximum over point as 20 came off the 16th.
Despite a couple of classy hits from Pandya in the next over from Tye, India still needed a steep 43 from the last 18 balls to win the third T20I. Going for a big hit against Adam Zampa, Pandya top-edged a tossed up delivery to short third-man, and perished for 20 off 13. The drama continued as Wade then missed a stumping off Kohli.
With 36 needed off 12, Kohli was eventually caught at deep backward-point off Tye while going for another big one. With Kohli’s dismissal, India’s only hopes of a victory in the final T20I of the series were killed off.
Australian opener Matthew Wade hit a brilliant 80 from 53 balls in the 3rd T20I after India sent the hosts into bat. Wade and Maxwell were involved in an enterprising stand of 90 for the third wicket. Both the players had their fair share of luck.
India’s late review against Wade for an LBW cost them a wicket immediately after the batsman reached his 50. Replays showed that the ball which came back in from T. Natarajan was crashing into the stumps, but India’s review was not granted as the broadcasters had played the review on the big screen by the time Kohli opted for it.
Maxwell (54 from 36) was even luckier in the third T20I. He was heading back to the pavilion having top-edged Yuzvendra Chahal on 19, but replays showed the leggie had over-stepped.
Maxwell celebrated by hammering Chahal for two sixes in his last over. After being dropped by Deepak Chahar on 38, he reached his half-century off 31 balls. There was one more reprieve in store for the ‘Big Show’ as Chahal himself dropped a dolly at short third-man. It needed a full toss from Natarajan to end Maxwell’s charmed stay.
Earlier, Australia lost skipper Aaron Finch for a duck in the second over as he made an unsuccessful return from injury, having missed the previous T20I. He would have been glad to end up on the winning side, though.
There were plenty of contenders for Man of the Match in the final T20I at Sydney. Wade played a brilliant knock off 80 from 53 to set up Australia’s challenging total.
Maxwell rode his luck to slam 54 from 36 and also claimed the big wicket of Rahul. Kohli’s 61-ball 85 in a losing cause deserves a mention.
No one can deny Swepson his time in the sun, though. India looked well set to chase down the target, but the leg-spinner’s dismissals of Dhawan, Samson and Iyer turned the T20I around.