India suffer defeat in final T20 against Australia
- India lost the final T20 of the series against Australia
- India win the series 2-1 despite a 12-run defeat
- Australia 186/5 (Wade 80, Maxwell 54, Sundar 2-34, Natarajan 1-33)
- India 174/7 (Kohli 85, Swepson 3/23, Zampa 1/21)
Virat Kohli of India collects the T20 Trophy (Getty Images)
Australia banked on their leg-spin duo’s control and variations to stifle India’s chase of 187 and thereby winning the third T20I by 12 runs. This was India’s first T20I loss of the calendar year after the visitors won the series 2-1 thanks to wins in the first two T20Is.
Captain Aaron Finch came back to lead Australia, but lasted only two balls. From there on, it was Matthew Wade’s show (80 off 53 balls, 7x4 2x6). He was aggressive from the start and continued from where he left off in the second T20I.
Wade was particularly aggressive on Washington Sundar and Deepak Chahar, playing with their lines by jumping out of the crease more often than not.
After adding 65 for the second-wicket with Steven Smith (24 off 23), Wade beefed Australia’s total with the grand support of Glenn Maxwell (54 off 36, 3x4 3x6).
Maxwell had a reprieve early on, when he was caught off the bowling of Yuzcendra Chahal only to be called back as it was a no-ball.
Wade too got a life early on when India were deemed late on their DRS appeal after the replay was played out on the giant screen before the 15-second time elapsed.
For India, Natarajan once again proved top-class with his variety of yorkers and cutters eventually ending up with 1/33 off four overs. At the halfway point, India felt they were in with a chance.
The chase got off to the worst possible start, though, as KL Rahul was sent back off the second ball. Shikhar Dhawan (28 off 21, 3x4) didn’t really look comfortable at the crease although adding 74 runs for the second wicket with Virat Kohli. It was Kohli’s masterclass 85 off 61 balls (4x4 3x6) that kept India in the hunt.
Kohli got at least three reprieves from the Australian fielders. He made the best use of those and kept India within sights of a final flourish. And when he added 44 runs for the fifth-wicket together with Hardik Pandya (20 off 13, 1x4 2x6), it looked like the final push is nearby.
With 43 needed off 18 balls, India needed Pandya to step up, but he holed out off the bowling of Zampa. There was some late excitement added by Shardul Thakur (17* off 7, 2x6), but he was only reducing the losing margin.
Swepson received the ‘man of the match’ award, while Pandya was the ‘man of the series’. Finch was happy with how his leg-spinners showed courage while speaking in the post-match presentation: “It’s the first time we have had two leg-spinners and that shows a lot of character from the two to bowl to a really short boundary here. It shows a lot of courage and they backed their skills really well.”
Kohli was buoyed by the crowd support and said: “I honestly feel that the crowd was a factor as well. It's great we can play in front of crowds in Australia. That gives you another dimension of motivation when you're in a tough situation. Our fans pulled us through a couple of times and Australia have got great support too.”
Scores: Australia 186/5 (Wade 80, Maxwell 54, Sundar 2-34, Natarajan 1-33) beat India 174/7 (Kohli 85, Swepson 3/23, Zampa 1/21) by 12 runs.