Suryakumar Yadav and Virat Kohli carved out half-centuries to orchestrate India’s thrilling six-wicket win with a ball to spare in the third and final T20I against Australia at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Sunday. The victory gave Rohit’s men a 2-1 series triumph.
Chasing a daunting target of 187, the Men in Blue lost opener K.L. Rahul and Rohit before the end of the fourth over. No. 3 Kohli and Suryakumar started cautiously before opening out to forge a 104-run partnership in just over 10 overs.
Suryakumar (69, 36b, 5x4, 5x6) unleashed his barrage of shots, scattering the bowling to all parts of the ground with his trademark strokes. At the other end, Kohli (63, 48b, 3x4, 4x6) proved a perfect support cast to keep the chase going.
Though Suryakumar perished trying to clear long-off in the 14th over, Hardik Pandya (25 n.o., 16b, 2x4, 1x6) complemented the former skipper. With 11 off the final over bowled by left-arm seamer Daniel Sams, Kohli smashed a six off the first ball before hitting straight to Aussie captain Aaron Finch at extra-cover.
A calm Hardik guided the fifth ball to the third-man boundary to trigger celebrations in the Indian dug-out and the stands.
Earlier, opener Cameron Green and No. 6 Tim David’s blazed away to half-centuries, propelling Australia to 186 for seven.
Green started off as if it were another shootout like the one in Nagpur where the teams played an eight-over-a-side game. He smashed a magnificent six off the second ball of the innings off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who returned to the side. Green treated Jasprit Bumrah with contempt — carting him for a four and two sixes — as the bowler conceded 17 in his first over. He also meted out a similar treatment to left-arm spinner Axar Patel as Australia raced to 66 for two in the PowerPlay. Bhuvneshwar came back strongly, inducing a false stroke from Green.
Glenn Maxwell was run out, thanks to a fine throw from the deep by Axar while Steve Smith failed to come good again, stumped by Dinesh Karthik off Yuzvendra Chahal.
Australia was reduced to 117 for six in 13.5 overs when Tim David and Daniel Sams joined hands.
David (54, 27b, 2x4, 4x6) was at his characteristic best, hitting boundaries at will. But it wasn’t enough once Suryakumar and Kohli got going.