Virat Kohli led from the front as he scored an unbeaten knock of 61 runs to help India register a six-wicket win in the third T20I and draw the three-match rubber 1-1 at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday. After opting to bat, Australia failed to post a strong total as India rode on Krunal Pandya’s maiden international four-wicket haul to restrict the hosts to 164/6 in 20 overs. Besides Krunal, left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav also chipped in with a crucial scalp of Australian skipper Aaron Finch.
After India’s triumph, Kohli acknowledged the team effort and posted a picture with Kuldeep on Twitter, saying: “Great to see this guy and everyone else stepping up together. On to the Tests now!”
Great to see this guy and everyone else stepping up together. On to the Tests now! @imkuldeep18 pic.twitter.com/OES174LSvk
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) November 25, 2018
Skipper Finch gave Australia a confident start with opener D’Arcy Short but Kuldeep struck in the ninth over to break the 68-run opening stand. Finch made 28 runs off 23 balls with the help of four boundaries.
Following the departure of the Aussie captain, Short lost his wicket for 33 runs to Krunal in the 10th over. Krunal then claimed three more wickets in Glenn Maxwell (13), Ben McDermott (0) and wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey (27) to claim a career-best figures of 4/36.
Chasing a target of 165, Rohit Sharma and Shikar Dhawan established a 67-run partnership stand for the opening-wicket. Australia spinner Adam Zampa dismissed Dhawan in the sixth over but the Indian opener had already set the tone for the visitors with his 22-ball 41. He scored two sixes and six boundaries to enthrall the Sydney spectators.
In the post-match presentation, Kohli was full of praise for the Indian openers. “Things become pretty easy when those two (Shikhar and Rohit) guys do the job for us,” he said.
Australia took the lead in the three-match series after they won the first T20I in Brisbane. The second T20I was abandoned due to rain. In the final contest, India put their soul and sealed a six-wicket win at the SCG.
Hailing India’s all-round effort in series-levelling win, the Indian skipper added: “Overall, skill wise, we were better on the day than Australia. When our openers get into the zone they’re difficult to stop. With the ball, we were more professional today.”
“A level series is a fair reflection of how the teams have played. Tonight also the fans were really loud and motivated us to the win,” the 30-year-old added.
Up next, India will take on Australia in a four-match Test series, starting with the Adelaide Test on December 6.