India whitewash Australia in another SCG thriller

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By Kersi Meher-Homji

India won the Twenty20 International (T20I) series 3-0 by clinching the final match on the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) off the last ball.

Only eight days ago India had beaten Australia in the last over of the final one-day international (ODI) also on the SCG.

Both matches were dead rubbers in the sense that Australia had already won the ODI series 4-0 and India had won the T20I series 2-0.

Dead rubber? What dead rubber? There were over 35,000 spectators in each of the two Sydney matches keeping the game alive and kicking; no one leaving the ground till the last ball was bowled.

Last night’s match was a real cliff-hanger with both sides performing at their best.

Australia’s new captain Shane Watson won the toss and batted. Although Usman Khawaja left early after scoring a fast 14, Watson batted magnificently to hit an unbeaten 124 with 10 fours and six towering sixes.

It was his first T20I century in his 52th match. Australia compiled an impressive 5 for 197 at a run-rate of 9.85.

India had a big job in hand to win. But they started at a terrific pace with the in-form batsmen Rohit Sharma (52) and Shikhar Dhawan (26) giving a fabulous 13 runs per over start.

Then Virat Kohli (50 in 36 balls) started from where he had left off in Adelaide (90 not out)   and Melbourne (59 not out) to score an amazing 199 runs in this series at an average of 199.00.

He became the only player to score three consecutive fifties in a bilateral T20I series.



















After the departure of Sharma and Kohli the run-rate dropped as Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh tried to find their feet and boundary lines.

Raina was lucky as wicket-keeper Cameron Bancroft failed to stump him before he had scored. What a lucky break for India as Raina tore the Aussie attack to ribbons.

It was the first time Yuvraj had batted in Australia this season and appeared out of touch when he started with a disappointing five runs off nine deliveries.

Why did skipper MS Dhoni not come in to bat, I asked myself.

Well, with all the ups and downs the climax came in the last over with India needing 17 runs for a win and the out of touch Yuvraj on strike. But Yuvi [Yuvraj] proved all the Indian doubters wrong by hitting medium-pacer Andrew Tye for a 4 and a 6.

Then Raina hit a 2 and a 2 as India needed two more runs to win and a single to tie the match. But Raina hit a heart-warming four and India won by seven wickets off the final ball. He had scored a quick-fire 49 runs with six fours and a six.

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What a finish! Watson was made the Man of the Match and Kohli the Man of the Series. A pleased as punch Virat said at the presentation:

“Indeed, reads sweet. We decided before the Sydney one-dayer that we want to finish the tour 4-all [including the final ODI and the three T20Is]. Just because we played so well earlier but didn’t get on the board. I was disappointed when I got out because I wanted to finish the game off. I challenge myself to finish them off when I chase. The way Yuvi and Raina, both of them coming back, finished it off, credit to their character. [Rohit Sharma starts dancing midway because Kohli is asked about him]. I have said this many times that I am a big fan of Rohit. The time he has got, and the miles he can hit the ball…”

Our hats off to Kohli, today’s cricketing Colossus!

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