Sunday, January 31, 2016

Kohli, Rohit and Raina help India Whitewash Australia 3-0 in the T20I Series

India had already won the three match T20I series after winning the first match by 37 runs at the Adelaide Oval and then defeating the Australians by 23 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground but it was Australia who were ringing in the chances to their team in the dead rubber at the Sydney Cricket Ground with as many as 5 changes from the last match.

Shane Watson, debutant captain for Australia in the T20 format won the toss and decided that they will bat first. Cameron Bancroft and Khawaja, debutants both, replaced Wade and the injured Finch respectively while Tait, Boyce and Head came in for Hastings, Lyon and Faulkner.

Khawaja opened the innings with Shane Watson as Marsh was bunted down the order. He hit a couple of good boundaries but got out to Nehra for 14 off 6 balls. Watson was just 1 off 7 balls but he and Australia both were up and running after a couple of ordinary overs from Nehra and Bumrah shifted the momentum. Australia were 57-1 after the power-play overs.

In the eighth over Ashwin got Marsh clean bowled as he went for a wild slog and departed for a scratchy 9 off 12 balls. Maxwell came out and Dhoni handed the ball to Yuvraj, who had got his wicket in the last game as well, and he got him again off the very first ball. Australia were 80-3 after 10 overs and were again losing their way to the spinners like in the first two matches.

Kohli dropped Watson off Pandya when Watson was on 56 and it was going to be a very costly error. Head was getting in his groove as he slammed Yuvi for a six over mid-wicket and then dragged the ball from way outside off to leg to slam a boundary. By this time Watson was in his elements and his high impact batting was making the Indian spinners look ordinary. He completed his hundred off just 60 balls in the 17th over. Australia finished on 197-5 in their 20 overs with Watson remaining unbeaten on 124 off 71 balls. It was the highest score in T20I's by a captain.

India were 18-0 after two overs but it was in the third bowled by Tait that the Indians got the big push towards the huge target. Tait went for 24 as Dhawan laid into him hitting him for a couple of fours and a six. India were up and running and though Watson got Dhawan out caught behind for 26 in the very next over, India were almost 50 in just the 4th over. Kohli joined Rohit and the pair have already tormented the Aussies enough in this tour were at it again. The Fantastico Rohit reached his 50 off just 35 balls but was caught by Watson off Boyce who was in the middle of a good spell. Debutant keeper Bancroft missed the stumping of Raina in the same over while he was still on nought and Raina rubbed in some salt by slogging a six over long on the next ball. Boyce got Kohli in his next over but not before Kohli had reached another 50.

The required run rate was slowly going up and Yuvraj was struggling to lay bat on ball in an innings reminiscent of his 11 off 21 balls in the WT20 final he made against Sri Lanka in 2014. But Raina was still getting the runs at a fair clip and he kept India in the hunt with India requiring 17 off the last over to win the match. Yuvraj was 5 off 9 balls at that point and he would be facing the first ball of the final over. Yuvraj slammed the first ball for a boundary and then going deep in his crease flicked the next for a six to get India right back in it. Raina hit a boundary of the last ball to seal the match in India's favour by 7 wickets.

It was a great comeback by India after going down 1-4 to Australia in the ODI's.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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