Team India couldn’t quite complete a 3-0 whitewash over Australia in the T20I series as the hosts beat the Men in Blue by 12 runs in the third T20I at Sydney.
Chasing 187 runs to win, Indian skipper Virat Kohli led the way with the bat and scored a fantastic 85 off just 61 balls including four fours and three sixes.
However, former Indian fast bowler Ashish Nehra believes that the 32-year-old will be gutted that he couldn’t take his team across the line, despite being well-set.
Ashish Nehra also feels that Kohli could have accelerated a bit more in the middle-overs, but the Men in Blue kept on losing wickets at regular intervals.
A fighting partnership between Kohli and Hardik Pandya saw India take the game deep with 43 runs required off the final 3 overs. But Pandya’s wicket proved to be the final nail in their coffin.
In the end, the asking-rate was too much to achieve, even for someone of Virat Kohli’s potential.
“The margin between a victory and a loss in T20 cricket is very small. If you see in the end, 43 runs from 3 overs is something many teams these days back themselves to chase down. According to me, Virat Kohli’s role in this team is that of a sheet anchor and that is why he has such a high average,” Ashish Nehra told Cricbuzz.
“So Virat Kohli would know that he was set and still couldn’t finish the game for India and thus he would be disappointed with himself. Virat Kohli’s strike rate remains low in the middle-overs, something which he needs to have a look at,” he further added.
Hardik Pandya’s blistering knock of 42 off just 22 balls had won India the previous T20I. He had come out to bat at No.5 in that game. Thus, Ashish Nehra was baffled to see Shreyas Iyer walk in ahead of Pandya at No.5 in the third T20I.
The move didn’t pay off as Iyer was dismissed for a golden duck. According to Nehra, this just increased the pressure on both Virat Kohli and Pandya and cost India the game in the end.
“In the previous match too till the time Hardik Pandya was there at the crease India was in the game. Even Virat Kohli knows that his game and Hardik Pandya’s game are different. So he needs batsmen around himself who can score quickly. Hardik Pandya should have been sent at No.5 and that I think was a big mistake. Today he came to bat at No.6 which I think was a wrong decision,” Ashish Nehra asserted.
With the honors evenly shared in the ODI and the T20I series, the focus now shifts to the all important Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The first Test between India and Australia will be played at Adelaide from December 17 and will be a Day-Night encounter.