India went into the third T20 match at the Sydney Cricket Ground on the 31st of January with the series already in the bag but the Indian team wanted to make a statement after losing the ODI series 4-1.
Since T20 captain Aaron Finch was out through injury, veteran Shane Watson led the side and for the first time in the T20 series Australia batted first and did extremely well to post 197 runs on the board after the skipper made an unbeaten 124 to give India a stiff target.
Considering the form of the top 3 Indian batsman, the target was definitely not out of reach and yet again S Dhawan, R Sharma and V Kohli laid a solid foundation and India appeared to be comfortably chasing down the runs when they lost R Sharma and V Kohli in quick succession.
India’s middle order hadn’t been tested throughout the T20 series and two experienced campaigners in Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh were given the responsibility of taking India across the finishing line. Raina was given a life when the wicketkeeper missed an easy stumping and he did not look back. Yuvraj Singh put himself and the team under pressure as he found it difficult to get the ball away to the boundary and in the end it came down to India needing 17 runs of 6 balls.
Australia’s Andrew Tye had to bowl the last over and Yuvraj Singh knocked the first ball for four, the second for six and then took a single. In the end it came down to the inexperience of Tye in a high pressure situation against the experience of Raina and India got home as Raina hit a four off the last ball to the delight of the thousands of Indian fans who had packed the SCG.
During the post match ceremony captain MS Dhoni 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.”
Virat Kohli was named man of the series and India will go back home with a lot of confidence to take on Sri Lanka in another T20 series as they build momentum for the T20 World Cup which takes place in March.