Sydney: A carefully executed intense chase by India’s batsmen helped them finish the tour on a winning-high by clean-sweeping Australia 3-0 in the T20 series. In the third and final ODI at Sydney, Australia were not at the top of their game even as Shane Watson’s marvelous knock of 124 not out helped the Aussies cover up for an otherwise below-par batting display. India’s ploy, to cut-off the flow of runs, ensured their target remained in range. But the only batsman who troubled the visitors was Watson, who slammed ten 4’s and six 6’ in his 71 ball innings.
India replied strongly and stuck to their course all along the way. Watson broke the 46 runs partnership for the first wicket but Rohit Sharma (52) and Virat Kohli (50) added another 78 for the second wicket. From there onwards, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh took over to guide India home. The close was not that clinical it was supposed to be as Australia kept their fielding as tight as possible. While Singh took little time in adjusting to the conditions in the middle, Raina ensured India were on-track in their chase. Australia did manage to apply pressure on their opponents but failed to convert it into anything useful.
In the last over, India required 17 runs to win. Yuvraj Singh flicked Andrew Tye for a four on the first delivery and then followed up with a six over leg-side to bring down the equation to 7 from 4 deliveries. With 2 to win from the final ball, Raina intelligently lofted it for a four to seal the game.
Shane Watson won the Man of the Match award while Virat Kohli won the Man of the Series award.
The Australian Captain admitted that India were the better team on the given day. He said “”They certainly are special. They showed it to us in the one-day series as well. We put up the big score to give ourselves a big score, but couldn’t get ourselves over the line. We have got the world-class players; there is no reason why we can’t have a successful World T20”.
Indian Captain MS Dhoni praised the bowlers for their effort. He said “Lot of credit to the bowlers. In the ODI series the batsmen were doing well, we needed the extra 10% from the bowlers. That has changed with Bumrah coming in and others getting their act together. Yes, the batsmen have taken it up a notch, but it is the bowlers who have done their job better, which has made the difference. There might be one or two changes based on the conditions in the World T20, but this is roughly what our T20 side will look like”.
India’s limited overs Captain MS Dhoni has become the first overseas captain to whitewash Australia in a series (consisting of three or more games). It will be a huge boost for India who will play hosts in the next month’s ICC World Twenty20.
AUSTRALIA 20 Overs 197-5
S Watson 124*(71) Y Singh 1-19
T Head 26 (19) A Nehra 1-32
U Khawaja 14 (6) R Ashwin 1-36
INDIA 20 Over 200-3
R Sharma 52 (38) C Boyce 2-28
V Kohli 50 (36) S Watson 1-30
S Raina 49*(25) G Maxwell 0-10
INDIA WON BY 7 WICKETS
Photo Credit: BBC