India Beat Australia In Sydney Thriller To Win Dettol T20I Series At 2-0!


Finally in Sydney, India has tasted victory beating Australia by 6 wickets in the second T20 international match today, thus winning the three-match Dettol T20I Series with an unassailable 2-0 lead. Hardik Pandya became the man of the moment with his explosive winning innings of 42 off 22 balls, supported ably by Shikhar Dhawan (52), KL Rahul (30) and Virat Kohli (40). Like Australia avenged their home ODI Series loss in 2018-19 by overwhelming India in the Dettol ODI Series 2-1, India have now taken sweet revenge of their T20I Series loss in the 2018-19 tour. India had earlier won the first T20I match in Canberra by 11 runs, and today’s victory marks their third consecutive win in India Tour of Australia 2020-21. This win also marks India’s 10th consecutive win in international T20 matches.

 

Kohli won the toss, and took a tricky decision by inviting the hosts to bat first. Australia raced towards a huge score from the word go with stand-in captain Wade (in absence of injured Finch) making 58 quick runs before getting run out in an amusing situation. The Indian bowlers, Shami and Bumrah rested, got hit all around the park except for the great IPL-find Natarajan who put the brakes on also capturing two wickets. However, India could not prevent the hosts putting up a very challenging score of 194/5, perhaps about 20 runs more than the visitors desired.

 

India’s chase of 195 started with caution in the first two overs after which both the openers, Rahul and Dhawan, opened up scoring freely all around. In fact, the chase had been a total team effort with every batsman contributing to it significantly. It was again a dicey decision to send Hardik Pandya at no.5 with a better batsman Shreyas Iyer still waiting in the dressing room. After a hesitant start Pandya never looked back, till he hit the winning six. The asking rate had also been kept around 10 per over almost throughout the chase. Indian needed 25 runs from the last two overs. Pandya reduced it to 14 needed off the last over, and he hit two huge sixes to help his team win the match with two balls to spare.

 

The first match in Canberra was a low-scoring one as India managed to set a target of just 161 for the hosts thanks largely to a rollicking 44 by Ravindra Jadeja who got hit in the helmet during the innings and could not field in the Australian chase. That in fact was the turning point as the concussion replacement Chahal sparkled with three scalps. And Natarajan who kept his nerve till the last moments presented the other haul of three wickets as Australia could manage only 150/7 in the allotted 20 overs.

 

On the major takeaways so far Natarajan has been a terrific addition to bolster the pace attack with Bumrah and Shami back in future; the form of Pandya is also very heartening and he should be fit for bowling too as soon as possible; the top four batsmen finally came into the picture in the second T20I match; and the Indian fielders have started taking some very good catches of late. On the flip side the Indian fielders continue to drop catches too including the ever-agile Kohli and most of the bowlers, particularly the spinners, have still not found good line and length. Overall, Team India seems to have steered clear of the pandemic frame-of-mind.

 

The last match of the Dettol T20I Series will be played in Sydney on 8th December, and thereafter the all-important Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test Series is going to start in Adelaide from December 17 which will be a pink-ball day/night affair. 

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