Australia v India, 3rd T20I: India win last-ball thriller to win series 3-0
Brilliant knocks from Rohit Sharma, Kohli and Raina help India to record chase in Australia
In the final T20I at Sydney Cricket Ground, India came into the game looking to seal the three-match series 3-0 and level matters in the whole tour 4-4, something that might have been a positive in their preparation for the World T20. Australia, on the other hand, would have hoped to avoid a clean sweep and finish the series on a bright note.
Australia: Usman Khawaja, Shane Watson (C), Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Cameron Bancroft (Wk), Andrew Tye, Cameron Boyce, Scott Boland, Shaun Tait.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (C & Wk), Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra.
After having won the toss, stand-in captain for Australia, Watson chose to bat first. Many big names were missing from the Australian squad and the hosts were starting with a new opening pair in Khawaja and Watson.
Khawaja started off very well and seemed to continue on his good form from 2015 and the Big Bash League. However, he fell quite early and edged one to Dhoni off the bowling of Nehra after scoring 14.
Watson then put in a 53-run stand with Marsh which set the foundation for the Australian innings. Marsh played the anchor role as he scored only 9 runs off 12 balls before he was bowled by Ashwin.
The inconsistent Maxwell quickly departed trying to smash new bowler Yuvraj Singh over cover. At that point, India seemed like getting back into the game, however, Watson and Head were involved in a huge partnership of 87 runs in just 47 balls.
Watson played one of the best innings’ of his life as he scored a brilliant unbeaten hundred to take his side to a mammoth score of 197 in their 20 overs. The stand-in captain's unbeaten knock of 124 off just 71 balls included 10 fours and six sixes. Watson made sure none of the Indian bowlers had satisfactory bowling figures as he hit them all around the ground.
In reply, the Indian innings started off very well with Dhawan taking Tait to the cleaners as the bowler conceded 24 runs in the third over. After scoring 26 off 8 balls, Dhawan became Watson's victim as he edged it to keeper Bancroft. When Dhawan got out, India were 46/1 off just 3.2 overs.
Rohit and Kohli continued the good foundation set and smashed the Australian bowlers on a regular basis to make a 78-run partnership for the second wicket. Rohit Sharma scored yet another half-century on the tour and finished the series off in style with a 38-ball 52.
Kohli also finished the tour with a half-century and played some excellent shots during his innings of 50.
Yuvraj who came in to bat at No. 5, struggled to get going at first, but the southpaw scored a four and a six off the first two balls off the last over when 17 was needed off 6 balls.
Raina played the role of a perfect finisher as he scored a brilliant 49 off 25 balls to guide India to a famous seven-wicket victory to give India a 3-0 whitewash against Australia.
Brief Scores: India 200/3, 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 52, Kohli 50; Boyce 2/28) beat Australia (toss) 197/5, 20 overs (Watson 124*, Head 26; Yuvraj 1/19) by seven wickets.