Perfect India rout Australia
An inspired India recorded their highest run-chase ever on Australian soil as they pulled off a dramatic last ball seven wicket victory in the third and final Twenty20 International to achieve a rare 3-0 clean sweep against the hosts, here on Sunday.
The win also promoted Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s boys to the top of the ICC T20 rankings and they now lead the table in the shortest and the longest format. This is India’s second highest run-chase after they overhauled 202 against Sri Lanka at Rajkot back in 2010.
Suresh Raina and comebackman Yuvraj Singh kept their cool as they blasted the required 17 runs off the final over to chase down a mammoth target of 198 set by Australia riding on captain Shane Watson’s incredible innings.
Rookie Andrew Tye was given the final over by Watson with 17 runs to get with a shaky Yuvraj batting for the first time in the series on strike. He had scratched his way to 5 off 9 balls before whipping a delivery on the pads over fine leg for a boundary. With 13 needed from five balls, it was vintage Yuvraj as he rocked back and smashed Tye over deep mid-wicket for a six to bring the equation down to 7 from four balls.
Yuvraj and Raina then scampered home for a single to make it 6 from three balls. A couple of doubles from Raina made it two from the last ball as all the fielders were brought inside the circle. The UP left-hander kept his cool as he slashed it over point and the Indian dug-out erupted in wild celebrations as the players rushed to the ground to congratulate the duo.
Raina’s 25-ball effort had half a dozen fours and a six. However, a lot of credit should go to the in-form men Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who added 78 runs in 9.1 over. Shikhar Dhawan’s smashing cameo of 26 from 9 balls also helped India get off to a rollicking start.
The T20 series turned out to be an ideal boost for the ‘Men in Blue’ ahead of the ICC World T20 in little over a month’s time in their own backyard. India’s next assignment is in Pune against Sri Lanka on February 9.
Dhawan and Sharma provided a blistering start to the Indian innings, taking 42 runs off the first three overs. Shaun Tait and Scott Boland were taken to the cleaners, particularly the former as he was taken for boundaries at will by both batsmen.
Dhawan was the victim of his own aggression, caught behind off Shane Watson in the 4th over. That brought Kohli to the crease, and despite the loss of Dhawan, the scoring continued unabated though a tad slower. The Indian 50-mark came up off just 25 balls, and the in-form duo made merry in the middle. They put on 78 runs for the 2nd wicket, with the runs coming off only 55 balls, gathering runs at pace as the Indian 100-mark came up in only 9.4 overs.
Earlier, stand-in captain Watson pulverised a mediocre Indian bowling to smash an unbeaten 124 as Australia scored a commendable 197 for five in 20 overs after opting to bat. The seasoned all-rounder played only 71 balls hitting 10 fours and half a dozen of sixes carrying his bat through the innings after winning the toss. Such was Watson’s dominance that the next best score was 26 from Travis Head.
Indian bowlers were less than impressive as they were belted out of the park as Australian batsmen hit a total of 16 boundaries and seven sixes in their innings.
Eves win T20 series 2-1
A historic series triumph already sealed, the Indian women’s cricket team faltered in its quest for a clean-sweep as it went down by 15 runs to Australia in the third and final Twenty20 International following a spectacular batting collapse here on Sunday.
Chasing a victory target of 137, the Indians, who pocketed the series after winning the first two games, were comfortably placed at 94 for 3 in 13.3 overs before a middle- order collapse led them to end at 121 for 8 at the SCG. The Indians scored just 27 runs from the last 6.3 overs and lost five wickets.
Earlier, Australia posted 136/5 as Goswami’s excellent bowling and visiting side’s sharp work on the field again made life difficult for the hosts.