India vs. Australia: Sky starts the chase, Virat Kohli finishes it

Bhuvneshwar and co were destroyed in the Powerplay due to a lack of a new ball move, exacerbating India’s bowling concerns.

Virat Kohli only made one boundary in the final portion of his 48-ball 63, but it was a pivotal one: a six over wide long-on off the initial ball of Daniel Sams’ final over of the chase with 11 runs required. India won the T20I series 2-1 in Hyderabad thanks to Hardik Pandya’s squirted outside edge for four off the final ball, capping off a remarkable turnaround after Australia clobbered them in the Mohali opener. However, some of the old concerns still exist as they prepare for their final match before the T20 World Cup, a series against South Africa. The towering presence of Cameron Green, who smashed 52 off only 21 balls, completely overwhelmed Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Company in the Powerplay in the absence of any substantial movement with the new ball.

India did well to recover after falling to 56 for 1 in 4 overs. However, from 140 for 6 after 17, Bhuvneshwar and Jasprit Bumrah’s 18th and 19th overs cost them a cumulative 39 runs, and another strong batsman, Tim David, aided the Australians to 186 for 7 with a 27-ball 54.

With a fairly sticky surface and a sizable outfield, Australia used the hard lengths to good use on a pitch where slamming the ball into the surface makes life difficult for batsmen in the Indian Premier League. As a result, the chase appeared to stall as soon as it got going. By the fourth over, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma had left the field, and Suryakumar Yadav entered the fray to take up the pursuit in this style which only he could do.

With the exception of the final delivery he encountered, when he failed to clear a leaping wide long-off, Yadav essentially smashed the ball anywhere he chose during his 36-ball 69. An astounding on-the-up punch from Daniel Sams’ outside leg stump soared into the second tier above additional cover. Adam Zampa made a carefree chip-and-flick that ended up far beyond wide long-on. Whether on or off-pace, the legendary Test stars of Australia, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, were ricocheted over deep midwicket with contempt. With the ball, Kohli would alternate between trying to slog it out of the ground, which never worked, and finding his spots and timing the lofted boundaries, which he did with style. He wisely passed the strike to his partner during their 104-run third-wicket stand that took only 62 balls as Suryakumar quickly overtook him.

Even though only 53 runs were needed off of 36, India started to struggle after Suryakumar’s departure at the conclusion of the 14th over. This continued until Pandya went beyond and choppered Hazlewood over a leaping David at long-on off the first ball of the last over. They might have preferred a more straightforward victory given Suryakumar’s domination, but at least batting isn’t their current area of weakness.

Turf is scorched by green

Green challenged India fiercely from the very first ball of the match. He seems to have the skills to develop into a tremendously challenging T20 batsman to bowl against. He demonstrated incredibly quick hands for such a tall man when Bhuvneshwar attempted to swing one into him, hunkering down on the ball and slitting it over a deep square leg.

Bhuvneshwar was penalised through the covers as he inevitably went shorter and wider. His enormous reach allows him to turn even defensive wider offerings into sitting-duck boundary alternatives. He strikes with strength off the back foot both behind and in front of square.

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