Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yada, referred to as SKY by fans, put up a brilliant partnership to chase down high total and win the series against Australia. As part of preparation before T20I World Cup both India and Australia have long before decided to face-off in a bilateral T20I Series.
Australia agreed to tour to India for the matches and these have been approached by both the teams as “preparation grounds” before the main event, next month. Both wanted to test their players and find the right combinations. Even though the World Cup is being conducted in Australia from 19th October, this bilateral series has been conducted in India.
Virat Kohli, who has been struggling, came back into form in this series at the right time. He played an integral part in India pulling off a huge chase. Being the chase master, he understood the grim situation when India lost both openers – KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma cheaply and quickly. He staged a brilliant partnership with Suryakumar Yadav.
Australia batsmen went after Indian bowlers, mainly pace bowlers, right from the word go. India won the toss and elected to field first. Cameron Green and Aaron Finch opened the innings by going after Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. Interestingly, Axar Patel opened with the swing master. Axar Patel got Aaron Finch in his second over.
Green completed his thundering 50 and got out in Bhuvaneshwar Kumar over, within the powerplay. Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell struggled to move the scoreboard and Australian run rate came drastically down. Both of them got out trying to find quick runs. Indian bowlers further hurt Australia by getting Josh Inglis and Matthew Wade wickets in quick succession.
Tim David and Daniel Sams came together in the final overs. They did not spare even Jasprit Bumrah. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar’s 18th over and Bumrah’s 19th over have given away 39 runs pushing Australia score from 140/6 to 179/6. Harshal Patel bowled the last over and he got dangerous Tim David wicket after him completing his 50 with a six. Harshal managed to bowl tightly and restricted Australia in the final over to 186/7. Axar Patel made an impact for India with ball by taking 3 wickets and giving away only 33 runs from his 4 overs.
With 187 to chase, India started cautiously and they lost KL Rahul in the first over itself. Kohli seemed to be in the mood to whack every ball but he did not connect many. Rohit hit a six in Hazlewood’s over and when he seemed to be setting the tone, got out in Pat Cummins over after scoring 17 runs.
Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav had to be aggressive and at the same time not let Australian bowlers take upper hand. SKY, found his rhythm early and kept going after the bowlers while Kohli seemed to struggle one ball and hit another one.
Both of them have put up 104 runs partnership and SKY got out in 14th over, after scoring brilliant 69 runs off 36 balls. Kohli, who played second fiddle to SKY’s aggression, started to take on bowlers while Hardik Pandya tried to set himself.
Kohli and Pandya managed the chase well even though they couldn’t find boundaries as frequently as they could. Kohli got out in the final over looking to finish it off quickly. He found a six on the first ball of the last over and tried to smash over cover the next ball but found Finch. He scored 63 runs from 48 balls.
Pandya found the edge at the right time to finish the chase in India’s favour in a nail-biting final over. Suryakumar Yadav deservingly won Player of the Match award and for his consistency, Axar Patel got rewarded with Player of the Series award. Indian fans would hope the team to learn from shortcomings and take the momentum into World Cup T20, down-under.