Team India registered their first defeat this year going down to Australia in the third and final T20I by 12 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Virat Kohli batted his heart out with a fine 85-run knock but failed to take his side home as he ran out of partners at the other end.
Chasing a big total, India lost KL Rahul in the first over which took them off the radar. It aggravated because after Shikhar Dhawan-Virat Kohli, India lacked partnerships, and the lack of experience in the middle-order was evident. Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, and Hardik Pandya (despite threatening for a moment) were gone in a jiffy.
There was obvious pressure on Kohli, who eventually succumbed to Tye’s ploy off bowling outside the stump. However, it was the 18th over from Adam Zampa that stalled the Indian juggernaut, resulting in their first T20I defeat in exactly a year (to the day). India threatened, they really did, in overs 16 and 17, but eventually, the batting fizzled out to lose their first T20I of the year.
Australia got off to a shaky start losing skipper Aaron Finch early. Matthew Wade was reprieved after India were hesitant to take a review, they decided on it only after watching the replay on the big screen, which was rightly disallowed.
Glenn Maxwell led a charmed life, dropped at least twice and then getting dismissed off a no-ball. Steve Smith got one reprieve as well, a stumping chance going in waste. Wade anchored this innings with a 53-ball 80, Maxwell chipped in with a 36-ball 54 as Indian bowlers failed to make a mark matched with equally poor fielding.
We were in the game until Hardik was batting – Virat Kohli
Speaking at the end of the game, Virat Kohli stated that they were in the game until Hardik Pandya was in the middle. He also pointed out that a few dull overs in the middle cost India the game.
“At one stage when Hardik started going we thought we could pull it off. The middle over phase during our batting cost us the game. A partnership of 30-odd would’ve made it easier for Hardik. We are finding ways to come back and give the opposition a scare and the series win is a little asterisk for us to finish the 2020 season on a high,” Virat Kohli said.
Adding further, Virat Kohli identified that crowd playing a deciding factor in the 3rd T20I and said that Australian fans backed their team to the core.
“I feel the crowd was a factor as well, it’s always giving you a dimension of motivation. Our crowd pulls us through sometimes, and Australia’s too, and we as players feed off the crowd’s energy,” Virat Kohli added.